C.C. Cragin & northern Gila County renewable water supplies

C.C. Cragin Reservoir provides a new, renewable, long-term water supply to the town of Payson and other communities in northern Gila County.

The 15,000-acre-foot reservoir is located about 25 miles north of Payson near Clint's Well atop the Mogollon Rim. The elevation of its surrounding watershed — from 6,700 to 8,000 feet above sea level — combined with its unique geography, means that Cragin typically fills each winter, even in below normal years.

Construction of C.C. Cragin Reservoir, formerly known as Blue Ridge, was completed in 1965 by Phelps Dodge as part of a water-exchange with SRP for mining operations in Morenci.

The water for use at the mine is diverted from the Black River in the Salt River watershed. The mine now uses Central Arizona Project water from the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation as the exchange supply, rather than water from C.C. Cragin.

SRP acquired the reservoir in 2005 as part of the Arizona Water Settlements Act, which set aside up to 3,500 acre-feet of water per year from C.C. Cragin Reservoir to resolve water right issues within communities in northern Gila County.

In 2008, SRP and the Town of Payson reached an agreement to deliver Payson an average of 3,000 acre-feet of Cragin water per year, covering Payson's anticipated water needs through build-out of its current town limits.

The Town is in the process of constructing a pipeline and water treatment plant that will soon deliver Cragin water to Payson residents.

The remaining 500 acre-feet of water has been designated as a future water solution for smaller Rim communities such as Mesa del Caballo. SRP and Payson Water Company entered into an agreement in 2012 that provides an average of 72 acre-feet per year to the subdivision.

Deliveries to the Mesa del Caballo residents will be made via the town of Payson’s future pipeline and water treatment plant.

SRP has partnered with additional small water providers for a share of Cragin water and continues to work with communities in northern Gila County.

The resolution of water right and supply issues offered by C.C. Cragin Reservoir is just one example of SRP’s continued efforts to provide water certainty throughout the state.