Consolidation of proposed Agricultural projects
All of the proposed Agricultural projects submitted in the original proposal to the Interstate Stream
Commission (ISC) were interrelated to some degree. Several of the projects would utilize all, or part of
the 14,000 acre feet of water available under the Arizona Water Settlements Act. In addition one project
proposed dealt with restoring water rights for stock tanks on forest lands not included in the 1964
adjudication. The balance of the project proposals that fell in the agricultural area did not seek to use
any of the 14,000 acre feet of water available. They were proposals to more efficiently convey and
utilize the water--primarily that used by agriculture—by employing different irrigation techniques,
improving infrastructure for diverting and delivering the water and, and measuring water use.
The projects proposed to use part, or all, of the 14,000 acre-feed included several common components.
The first was to capture the water with a dam on the Gila River, or off stream, or with some combination
of the two. The water would then be stored in a reservoir, underground, or utilizing slurry walls, or some
combination of these. The water could then be distributed by gravity flow or pumping, as needed during
the year, to assure a dependable and adequate supply of water for irrigation, ecological, recreational, or
Suggested locations for a dam ranged from the edge of the Wilderness on the Gila River, to one ½ mile
below the confluence of the Gila River and Mogollon Creek, with another option at Red Rock, primarily
to irrigate a proposed vineyard in that area.
Depending on the location of a dam, the project would meet some or all of the following needs, which
would benefit all entities and individuals along the river and in the surrounding area and communities:
A dependable and adequate water supply throughout the year
Fulfill existing water rights for irrigation and stock tanks, and restore any rights lost in the 1964
Expand agricultural production options
Maintain and improve ecology in and along the river
Expand recreational opportunities
Provide water for non-consumptive domestic wells
Preserve agricultural and related heritage in the Gila Valley
Environmental requirements for habitat in and along the River
This project would meet a water supply demand in the Southwest Water Planning Region by increasing
the amount of water available for:
Non-Consumptive domestic wells for watering yards, gardens and livestock
Agricultural cropping alternatives
Low-flow periods in the river
Meeting future needs from population growth and business expansion
While the project is largely conceptual at this point, some preliminary engineering work has been
considered in developing the proposals related to a dam and storage options. More extensive
engineering design has been completed for permanent diversion structures to divert water out of the
river into acequias.
o A dam would preferably be located in the upper Gila basin to take advantage of gravity
flow for distributing water as needed downstream. If off-stream alternatives were
considered on Bear Creek, Mogollon Creek, Duck Creek, or some combination of these,
pumping alternatives might have to be considered for distributing the water, depending
on the method of storage selected.
o Diversion structures need to be upgraded to avoid disruptions to irrigation and to
minimize costs for repair and replacement, which require work in the river. A Diversion
Practices Pilot Project, which has been used in other parts of New Mexico, was
proposed to replace in-stream diversion structures with a subsurface collection as the
method for getting water into acequias.