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Water allegedly diverted from Phoenix

April 28, 2004 at 2:29 PM

PHOENIX, April 28 (UPI) -- An Arizona utility is seeking a court order to block what it says is the illegal diversion of Verde River water that should be going to Phoenix.

The Arizona Republic said Wednesday a Maricopa County judge is considering a request from the Salt River Project for a court order blocking the allegedly illegal taking of water by a dozen major landowners in the Verde Valley.

The SRP contends the offenders, primarily large-scale farms, are taking more water than they are entitled to and could eventually erase the Verde as a source of water for the growing urban area around Phoenix.

Some of the growers deny any wrongdoing and insist they indeed have rights to all of the water they take.

The newspaper contended the SRP's targeting of individual landowners marks a shift in its strategy in a 30-year legal battle over water rights in the Verde.

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