Frequently Asked Questions

How much water am I entitled to?
If you own one (1) acre, that is equivalent to one (1) share. You can irrigate your property as per the Summer Irrigation Relay Schedule, which is implemented from April 15 — October 15 of each year. If your property is irrigated by a lateral ditch, then you may have an organized neighborhood water schedule to abide by (in addition to the CDA Relay Schedule) so that all properties can be irrigated in an equitable and organized manner. CDA encourages the wise use of water.

Can I buy or sell my claimed water rights?
The water is appurtenant to the land that you as a shareholder own. The water cannot be separated from the land. When properties change ownership, the shares are conveyed to the new owner by the Cottonwood Ditch Association. This is subject to the irrigation water dues assessment being paid in full and a $100.00 transfer fee is paid together with a copy of the Landowners Acknowledgement form (signed & notarized), and a newly recorded deed is provided before a new share is submitted to the new property owner by the Association.

What is a lateral?
A lateral is an open ditch and/or pipeline that conveys water to multiple properties (water users)
from the main ditch.

Who is responsible for maintaining laterals?
Operation and maintenance of laterals is the responsibility of water users on the lateral ditch. The Cottonwood Ditch Association is not responsible to maintain the lateral ditches.

Why does the water level in the ditch vary?
The water level in the ditch varies subject to use by the shareholders, and also can fluctuate during storms when the Ditch Association receives heavy surface water runoff (flooding) from the developed areas in Cottonwood.

On many occasions during storm events, all of the river water is turned out of the ditch at multiple locations, to accommodate the heavy runoff from streets, shopping centers, and residential areas. It is not unusual for the ditch to be running at capacity or above capacity totally from surface flood water runoff. The Board has met with the City of Cottonwood and the Yavapai County Flood Control District on numerous occasions over the years in anticipation of resolving the flooding issues. To date, none of those flooding issues have been resolved.

Why at times is the irrigation water dirty (discolored)?
When there is heavy rainfall in the upper Verde River watershed (Big Chino, Paulden, Sycamore Canyon), the runoff is discolored. Dark brownish water usually comes from the Big Chino; and reddish colored water usually comes from the Sycamore Canyon area.

Does the Ditch Association have a property easement for the main ditch?
Yes. The ditch has a 50’ wide easement right of way (25’ from the center of the ditch on each side). The only exception is that it has a lessor width easement regarding the buried pipeline through the Old Town area.

Am I responsible for main ditch maintenance?
All shareholders pay irrigation water assessments that pay for ditch maintenance and other operating costs. The Association only provides maintenance on the main canal.

It is the responsibility of the shareholders (property owners) located on the lateral ditches to main- tain their own lateral ditch.

Does the Ditch Association have an easement through my property?
Only if your property is located on the main ditch, CDA does have a 50’ wide easement (25’ from the center of the ditch). This is acknowledged and recognized by one of the following documents:

    1. Signed, notarized, and recorded Landowner Acknowledgement document.
    2. Schedule B of the Title Report on your property.
    3. Historically, “grandfathered” in by an easement via adverse possession.

(Members please refer to the Declaration of Principles in the Member section)

If my property is located on the main ditch, how can I identify the width of the easement?
Refer to your Title Report and/or the recorded Landowner’s Acknowledgement which refers to the Declaration of Principles, which includes the easement parameters.

Can I use the water in the ditch that runs through my property?
Only if you are a CDA shareholder and have your water assessment paid. Also, you need to cooperate and coordinate with the other shareholders who get irrigation water from that lateral ditch.

A ditch crosses my property. I don’t own rights to the water, but I want to dig out an area so that I will have a pond. Can I do this if the water can flow through my pond and back into the ditch?
No. You cannot legally use any irrigation water if you are not a shareholder on the Cottonwood Ditch Association. CDA does not authorize the construction of ponds using irrigation water.

What is a share of water?
The share or portion of a share is subject to the size of the property that you own. One (1) share is equivalent to one (1) acre. If you own one half acre, then you have one half share. If you own thirty (30) acres, then you have thirty (30) shares.

Why does the Ditch Association have an Irrigation Relay Schedule that water users must follow?
In the late spring and early summer, when it is hot and dry, and other times during the growing season, there is not enough water in the ditch to provide water to all shareholders at the same time. CDA usually diverts most if not all of the water out of the Verde River from when it gets hot during the late spring and summer months.

In order to accommodate our shareholders, an Irrigation Relay Schedule has been implemented from April 15 — October 15 of each year. The ditch is segmented into an Upper Relay and Lower Relay as

Upper Relay: Wednesday’s noon to Saturday midnight.
Areas affected:
Diversion Dam to Scott (Silver Springs) Wash.
Lower Relay: Saturday midnight to Wednesday noon.
Area affected: Scott (Silver Springs) Wash to Ryan Wash.

What does the Ditch Boss do?
The Ditch Boss is responsible for the maintenance and operations of the ditch. This includes daily cleaning of debris trash and limbs from the grizzlies @ the Flumes; and attending to any other maintenance issues that may arise ie: removal of downed trees and limbs, repairing leaks in the ditch bank, conduct the annual spring cleaning, etc.).

Also, the Ditch Boss monitors the flow of water at the Diversion Dam and throughout the length of the ditch. He turns water out of the ditch during storm events, and for dry up during the spring maintenance.

He also monitors the implementation of Relay Schedules during the summer months. The Relay Schedule is based on the “honor” system with our shareholders.

He monitors and regulates the amount of water being diverted out of the river into the ditch.

How do I contact the ditch company?
You can contact the Ditch Boss, Andy Groseta, or Mary Beth Groseta, Clerk, or any Board member.