Present Operations

The Cottonwood Ditch Association provides irrigation water to over 300 Shareholders in the Cottonwood and Bridgeport areas.  The Ditch Association has a 50’ Right of Way easement (25’ from the center on each side), and is maintained by the Association.  Each year from March 1-15, the water is turned out of the Ditch for its annual maintenance.  Due to large storm events, the Verde River runs large and the “cap” on the Diversion Dam is washed out, then repairs need to be made on the Diversion Dam.  CDA only maintains the Diversion Dam and the main Ditch.  The maintenance of the lateral ditches are the responsibility of those Shareholders who obtain water on their respective lateral ditch.

The Annual Meeting for the Association is on the third Wednesday of January each year.  Elections are held for the Board of Directors at this meeting.  The intent of the Board of Directors and Officers is to deliver water as economically as possible to its Shareholders.

Assessment & Rates

The annual irrigation water assessments are as follows:

$36/acre/year - Acreage larger than 2.5 acres
$72/year - Minimum on 2.5 acres and smaller parcels
$5 minimum and/or - Litigation Fund (created 1/17/18)
$100/year - Minimum on all permits that are issued
$100 - Transfer Fee (administrative)
18%/year - Delinquent Assessment Charge (1.5% per month)
Pumping Fees - $100 Administrative fee/year, plus $5/1,000 gallons

Summer Relay Schedule

Due to extreme heat and dry conditions that usually occur in late spring and through all of the summer months, CDA implements a Relay Schedule dividing the Ditch service area in half, and the days of the week in half.
The Association has designated an Upper and Lower Relay schedule. The service area for the “Upper Relay” (Wednesday noon to Saturday midnight) is from the Diversion Dam above Old Town Cottonwood to Silver Springs Wash (aka Scott Wash).  The “Lower Relay” (Saturday midnight to Wednesday noon) is from Silver Springs Wash (aka Scott Wash) to Ryan Wash in Bridgeport.

The relay schedule is effective from April 15 – October 15 of each year.  it is based on the “honor” system.

The Ditch Association maintenance ends at Ryan Wash.  It does provide irrigation water to Verde Village Unit V.  The property owners in the Verde Village Unit V are responsible for the maintenance of the Ditch that runs through Verde Village Unit V.


The main Cottonwood Ditch is overseen and managed by the Ditch Association Board of Directors. The Laterals are the smaller ditches that transport water from the main ditch to Association Members.

The management and care of the laterals are the responsibility of the Members that are served by a lateral. Often this requires maintenance and cleaning of the lateral ditches…and cooperation of the water users.

Construction of any improvements in or on a lateral ditch by any shareholder should not restrict water flow(s) and must be maintained by the individual landowners.

Water Rights Transfer

The irrigation water rights are appurtenant to the land.  When a property transfers title to a new owner, the Cottonwood Ditch Association facilitates the transfer of water rights from the previous owner to the new owner.  The new property owner shall provide the following information to the CDA:

1. Copy of newly recorded Deed complete with legal description and acres conveyed.

2. Filled out and notarized Land Owners Acknowledgement Form.

3. $100.00 check (Transfer Fee) payable to Cottonwood Ditch Association.

4. All water assessments must be paid current before a transfer is made to the new owner.

Upon receipt of the above, CDA will record the Landowners Acknowledged document together with the newly recorded Deed at the Yavapai County Recorders Office.  CDA will then issue a Certificate to the new owner of the property.

(Members please refer to the Landowners Acknowledgement in the Member section)

Flood Control

The Cottonwood Ditch provides inadvertent flood control services for both the City of Cottonwood and Yavapai County. The ditch is used by City and County land and private properties throughout the City and surrounding areas for water runoff from rain and snow. Runoff comes from streets, paved parking lots and existing land washes that are predominate in the area.

The water level in the Ditch is lowered or turned off completely when storms approach the region since the ditch must receive the runoff water -  or different areas including the ditch itself would often flood.

The Cottonwood Ditch has requested assistance from the City and County concerning the problem that occurs when development takes place without proper water drainage and engineering direction. The issue of flooding as described continues, and requests have been made to both Government agencies for a Flood Control Plan with very little planned or accomplished to date.