BOS questions water transfer proposal

KINGMAN - The Board of Supervisors is objecting to the proposed transfer of water from Planet Ranch to Freeport McMoRan's Bagdad Mine and the town of Bagdad. The Board approved a letter to the Arizona Department of Water Resources stating its objection to the water transfer Monday.

Planet Ranch is about 20 miles east of Parker. It covers nearly 8,000 acres and straddles parts of the Mohave and La Paz county line.

The ranch was once used to raise cattle.

The city of Scottsdale purchased the property in 1984 and attempted to divert water from the Bill Williams River, which runs through part of the property, into the Central Arizona Project for use by the city. The Bill Williams River empties into Lake Havasu.

In 2008, Freeport McMoRan purchased some of the property from Scottsdale and is now attempting to transfer the water, via a pipeline, from the ranch to its well field near Wikieup.

"I think we should see if we can seek intervener status on this" Johnson said.

"It is extremely important to take a position on the transfer of this water," Supervisor Gary Watson said. The mine already uses more than 15,000 acre-feet a year. He called the transfer of water from the Planet Ranch area inexcusable.

Johnson also pointed out that the deal, which also included giving some private land to the federal government for the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge, would remove some land from the county's tax rolls and impact county revenues.

"It's important that we keep every bit of water in Mohave County," Supervisor Tom Sockwell said.