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ADOT Agrees to Talk About $200M Flagstaff Pipeline

The well house at Red Gap Ranch. Photo credit: Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun

By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa for Arizona Daily Sun

The $200M Red Gap Ranch water pipeline is starting to inch forward – at least on paper.

The City of Flagstaff received a letter from the Arizona Department of Transportation on Dec. 31 saying the department was willing to talk about the idea of granting the city an easement for two-thirds of its 30-mile pipeline.

“This is our first written confirmation that the state is committed to making an (intergovernmental agreement),” said Mayor Jerry Nabours. “Before, ADOT wasn’t even willing to talk about it. It was just, ‘ADOT doesn’t allow construction of pipelines in its right-of-ways.’ This clearly lets us move forward.”

The city purchased the ranch as a source of future drinking water. It has signed an agreement with the Navajo Nation over aquifer pumping rights in the region, but it does not yet have a plan or a budget for getting the water between the ranch and Flagstaff 30 miles away. One estimate has placed the cost at $200M, depending on the price of easements and land purchases.

The agreement will have to be signed by both the city and the director of ADOT. It will then take a number of years to finish the design of the pipeline. The pipeline itself will probably not be built for several more years, Nabours said.

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