Phoenix joins SRP in Camp Verde water fight

In a solidarity move, the City of Phoenix joined forces with Salt River Project against 12 landowners in Camp Verde.

Assistant City Attorney James Callahan recently submitted a joinder (join in the cause) in Maricopa County Superior Court.

" Phoenix fully supports SRP's effort to engage this court in taking immediate action to stop ongoing violations of Arizona's surface water appropriate statutes," the May 7 document states. "In its memorandum, SRP highlights the priority of its shareholder's appropriative rights. Phoenix too has certified appropriative rights on the Verde River that also predates most of the surface water uses asserted by several parties against whom SRP seeks relief."

This latest move follows SRP's surprise filings last month involving five claims and 12 Camp Verde area landowners to stop them from using what SRP maintains is its water. SRP filed a show cause/injunction on April 26 with Maricopa County Superior Court assigned to the Judge Edward P. Ballinger Jr.

Some of the defendants said at the time that they felt SRP was trying to extrapolate their cases out of the much-larger SRP water adjudication case involving 50,000 plus defendants. SRP officials agreed at the time that if it is resolved in SRP's favor, it could help expedite the longtime pending adjudication case, now 30 years old.

Those named included:

1. Shields Ranch (Henry M. Shill, Don H. Shill) irrigation on 31 acres (Clear Creek).

2. Kovacovich Investment Ltd. Partnership, Wiertzema Family Trust, Jim and Linda Wyman, Myron Ray, First American Title Trust, using water on 133 acres (Middle Verde).

3. Linda S. and Paul R. Robinson and Chester Campbell, LLC, (Chester Newton Charter & Montesorri School) irrigating on 20 acres (near White Bridge).

4. NBJ Ranch, Ltd. Partnership, irrigating on 17 acres (Clear Creek).

5. Josephine Leslie and Verde River Ranch, LLC, using water on 68 acres (Clear Creek).

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