Marana Water News: The Real Field of Dreams

This weekend is the Annual Marana Cotton Festival. On October 15, at the Marana Heritage Park, attendees can see rodeo events, grab something to eat from food trucks, take a walk through the petting zoo, and much more. According to Special Events Coordinator Monique Meza “The cotton festival is just a celebration of fall and Marana. It is a chance for the community to come out and celebrate the culture and heritage and is also celebrates the season.”

The farming culture is a large part of the history of Marana, and water is an integral part of that history. Irrigation, or water use for agriculture/growing crops, is one of the most important uses of water throughout the world. Through irrigation places like California and Israel are able to harness water from lakes and rivers to grow crops where it might not otherwise be possible. According to the U.S. Geological Society, in 2005 total irrigation water was 37% of total freshwater withdrawals most from surface water sources like rivers and lakes. Of this 37%, Arizona used 4% of that irrigation water.

In Marana, irrigation water is pumped through wells connected to our groundwater aquifer. Irrigation Districts like the Cortaro-Marana Irrigation District (CMID) have a specific set of groundwater rights. These grandfathered rights stem from the water use prior to the 1980 Groundwater Management Act. There are three types of these rights:

1.       Irrigation grandfathered rights

2.       Type 1 non-irrigation grandfathered rights

3.       Type 2 non-irrigation grandfathered rights

Map of irrigation districts in Arizona

Irrigation grandfathered rights are given to those entities that were using irrigation water between 1975 and 1980, who can then  use groundwater for irrigation of land that is two or more acres to produce plants for sale or consumption or as livestock feed. Type 1 rights are given to lands that are permanently retired from farming and converted to a non-irrigation use, and Type 2 rights are only used for non-irrigation purposes. By adhering to these specific types of rights, Arizona irrigation water uses can help preserve our groundwater resources.

While Texas is the largest U.S. producer of cotton, China is the largest cotton producer in the world. Marana has a long history of cotton farming, and will be a highlight at the Cotton Festival this weekend. The event planners will have several areas dedicated to the cotton and agricultural heritage of the Town for guests to enjoy. There is even a small cotton farm in the rear of the park that attendees can walk through. For more information on the Cotton Festival, check out the Town’s event page here.

While Marana Water does not provide irrigation water in the way an irrigation district does, we understand the history of the water in our area. A reminder of the history and heritage of the Town is a great way to welcome the Fall season.