The historic claims that put a few California farming families first in line for Colorado River water
Craig Elmore’s family history is the stuff of Westerns. … Thanks to [Elmore's grandfather's] marriage to a citrus magnate’s daughter, reputed good fortune as a gambler and business acumen, he amassed the Elmore Desert Ranch, part of roughly 12,000 acres that two branches of the family still farm. All that land in the blazing-hot southeastern corner of California came with a huge bonanza: water from the Colorado River. In 2022, the present-day Elmores consumed an estimated 22.5 billion gallons … That’s almost as much as the entire city of Scottsdale, Arizona, is allotted. That puts the Elmores in exclusive company. They are one of 20 extended families who receive fully one-seventh of the river’s flow through its lower half — a whopping 1,186,200 acre-feet, or about 386.5 billion gallons, the analysis showed.