Settlement agreement aims to end 14-year water dispute

Staff at the Arizona Corporation Commission on Nov. 20 signed a landmark settlement agreement detailing water rights in southern Arizona. The agreement, if approved by corporation commissioners, will bring an end to a 14-year dispute, according to a press release.
The agreement outlines who owns the rights to provide water service to an undeveloped 1,100 acre area in Pinal County. Earlier this year, commissioners voted to approve a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity to Arizona Water Company. A decision was never issued from the commission. Originally voting to award the CC&N to Arizona Water Company, Commissioner Andy Tobin reconsidered his vote and asked commission staff to work with both parties to come to an agreement.
Arizona Water Company, Cornman Tweedy 560, LLC, and the Utilities Division staff of the Arizona Corporation Commission have been engaged in settlement discussion since April 5 to determine who has rights to provide water service within the area. The utilities do not currently provide water service to any residents in the region, according to the release.
Under the agreement, 14 terms were specified including:
  • Arizona Water Company will keep its CC&N to provide public utility water service within the disputed area.
  • For development that occurs at the Cornman Tweedy property, Arizona Water will refund to Cornman Tweedy, or its designee, all amounts paid for infrastructure and development.
  • The agreement establishes how refunds of development costs to Cornman Tweedy will be made under Main Extension Agreements to bring water service to the Cornman Tweedy property.
  • Arizona Water agrees to waive any requirements of an off-site facilities fee for development on the Cornman Tweedy property.
  • Arizona Water will have the right of first refusal to purchase reclaimed water from Picacho Sewer Company for use on the Cornman Tweedy property.
  • Arizona Water will also provide non-potable water service to customers on the Cornman Tweedy property from Arizona Water’s wells upon request.
  • Both parties agreed to work collaboratively and meet on a quarterly basis to coordinate development at the Cornman Tweedy property.
  • Arizona Water shall provide recovered Central Arizona Project [CAP] water to its General Service customers located on the Cornman Tweedy property.
  • Arizona Water shall make recovered CAP water available to Cornman Tweedy, or its designee in a specified amount for a set period.
  • If requested by Picacho Water Company, Arizona Water will install a one-way emergency service connection from Arizona Water’s Pinal Valley System to Picacho Water Company’s system.
  • Both parties agreed they, and any of their affiliates, will not provide water service in areas where there is a final and unconditional CC&N.
  • The settlement agreement is contingent upon the Arizona Corporation Commission confirming various CC&Ns are final and not contingent on any other filing requirements.
The agreement will go before the corporation commissioners at an upcoming meeting to seek final approval.
A copy of the settlement agreement may be found on the Arizona Corporation Commission’s docket page here: http://docket.images.azcc.gov/0000184005.pdf. The docket number for all related documents is W-01445A-03-0559.
The Arizona Corporation Commission was established by the state’s constitution to regulate public utilities and business incorporation. The five commissioners elected to the corporation commission oversee executive, legislative, and judicial proceedings on behalf of Arizonans when it comes to their water, electricity, telephone, and natural gas resources as well as the regulation of securities, pipeline, and railroad safety. To learn more about the Arizona Corporation Commission and its commissioners, visit http://azcc.gov.

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