Graham County Supervisor starts Facebook page, petition to help save Gila Valley’s water

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Staff Reports

GRAHAM COUNTY – Water is life, without it there is no life for any of us. 

Graham County Supervisor Danny Smith has started a Facebook page, People Who Drink Water In The Gila Valley, and has created a petition on to ask the San Carlos Apache Tribe (SCAT) to find the best Gila River agreement outside of court. 

According to the petition, Phoenix attorneys representing the SCAT have revived a 2001 lawsuit that claims all the water from 600-plus wells pumped in the Gila River corridor illegally divert water from the Gila River. If the lawsuit is successful, the SCAT won’t receive any more wet water, but it will turn off the wells, causing a 60 percent reduction in water for the Gila Valley and causing only 30 percent of the currently used farmland to be irrigated.

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The Gila Valley Irrigation District (GVID) has built a multi-million dollar system to deliver water to the reservation that can be utilized at the push of a button from a cell phone, but the pipeline has sat idle since 2015 and stops at the eastern reservation boundary. The GVID has the funds to continue the pipeline across the reservation and bring the water to where the SCAT could utilize it for farming, parks, or domestic use, but Phoenix attorneys have received a restraining order preventing the GVID from speaking with the San Carlos Apache Tribal government. Thusly padding their billable hours as litigation continues instead of having the two sides work out the issues to the benefit of the communities. 

Nobody except the Phoenix attorneys benefit from the lawsuit moving forward. Smith asks the community to read the petition here and sign it to move it forward instead.