FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

For more information:
Robert Barrett, CAP, 623-869-2135, rbarrett@cap-az.com

The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAWCD) and Yuma Mesa Irrigation and Drainage District (YMIDD) have developed a voluntary short-term "Pilot Fallowing Program." The market-based program is projected to begin in January, 2014, officials said.

Landowners within YMIDD that elect to participate in the program will commit to fallow, that is not irrigate, "Qualified Land" in a specific amount each year. The "conserved" water will remain in Lake Mead to help minimize or avoid a future shortage of Colorado River water to Arizona. This program will provide a stable revenue stream for YMIDD farmers with limited impact on current farming operations.

"As we look to identify creative ways of reducing or delaying shortages along the Colorado River, this pilot program will provide critical information to all of us who depend on the river as our most important renewable water supply," said Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) Board President Pamela Pickard.

 "As the governing board of the CAGRD, all of the CAWCD Directors appreciate the opportunity to partner with YMIDD in this important project," she said.

The pilot program is NOT a transfer of Colorado River water rights, officials said. The quantity of Colorado River water conserved under this program will be verified by YMIDD and CAGRD staff in coordination with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The program calls for approximately 1,500 total acres of land to be fallowed, which is less than 10 percent of the current irrigated acres within YMIDD. The estimated annual volume of water to be conserved through the fallowing program is about 9,000 acre-feet.

The pilot program will allow YMIDD, CAGRD and other Colorado River stakeholders to evaluate the benefits and impacts of creating conserved water through rotational fallowing.

For more information, contact Perri Benemelis at 623-869-2182