Partnerships That Work

Greenstone highly values partnership with local governments, businesses and developers.  Local sponsorship makes for well thought out projects that have long term benefits to the local communities and their economic future.  Greenstone’s expertise and capital, combined with the knowledge and sponsorship of local parties, greatly increase the likelihood of a successful project.

Recent Examples

Saving Money, Saving Water

Foresight and planning bring water security to the City of El Mirage

September 2014 

In the complex world of water management, planning is key. Greenstone is proud to have partnered with the City of El Mirage, Arizona to create and implement two critical agreements that will ensure a reasonably priced water supply for years to come.


Historically, the City of El Mirage opted not to participate in the original allocation of Central Arizona Project (CAP) water, a decision with significant repercussions. Over time, because the city has relied solely on groundwater for its municipal supply, its citizens have encountered some of the highest water rates in the western metropolitan Phoenix area.

It is a problem likely to be aggravated in the coming years. Water levels in Lake Mead, the United States’ largest-capacity reservoir, have been falling consistently since the 1980s due to increased demand and prolonged drought. 

If, as expected, Lake Mead falls to an elevation below 1,075 feet, a provision will be triggered that reduces the amount of water Arizona can divert from the Colorado River by 320,000 acre-feet per year(1), one-fifth of the water currently diverted every year from the Colorado River to central Arizona(2).

The brunt of that reduction in supply will be borne by central Arizona, particularly by the farming irrigation districts. Cities will feel the effect, too; no longer will there be any surplus water available to central Arizona users, and water prices are expected to climb significantly. 

The El Mirage – Greenstone Partnership

To its credit, the leadership of the City of El Mirage saw the looming crisis and took action to mitigate its effects. They began the search for a partner that could help the city take creative steps to ensure a reliable, low-cost water supply.  

Their search led them to Greenstone, a farming and water development company that uses its expertise to acquire and operate water assets including surface water, groundwater, offstream storage, and underground storage, as well as the infrastructure necessary for water conveyance. Greenstone is also among the largest owners of Extinguishment Credits, with more than 85,000 acre-feet of credits in central Arizona.(3)

In September 2014, the City and Greenstone entered into two agreements establishing El Mirage’s right to acquire up to 29,280 acre feet of Arizona grandfathered groundwater extinguishment credits at a cost of approximately $150.00 per acre foot.

According to City Manager Spencer Isom, purchase of an equivalent amount of groundwater from the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District would cost an incremental $13.64 million over the four-year agreement period, or roughly more than $450 per acre foot.

Greenstone’s work with the City of El Mirage underscores our mission to be active, responsible stewards of this precious resource by providing water management solutions that advance economic development and the public good in the western United States.

1 Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and the Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead, December 2007.

2 Central Arizona’s current allocation is 1.6 million acre-feet per year.
3 Under the 1995 Assured and Adequate Water Supply Rules, groundwater used by central Arizona water users must be replenished.    

Greenstone Partnerships Drives Economic Growth in New Mexico

October 2014

Two New Mexico communities can now move swiftly toward sustainable growth with help from Greenstone.

Bernalillo, a community to the north of Albuquerque, along with Los Lunas to the south, are the beneficiaries of a new approach that provides an easy and cost-efficient means for developers to meet water supply requirements for new construction.


For developers, the long-standing process for acquiring water rights has been lengthy, expensive, complicated and difficult. Many New Mexico communities require the developer – prior to final plat approval  – to secure dedicated senior water rights (pre-1907 Rio Grande surface water rights) and to begin the process of transferring those rights to the community water system to ensure the new demands for water are covered.

For developers, the process has historically involved locating a farmer who was willing to sell his water rights; negotiating the purchase of these rights; determining the validity of the rights; then completing the complicated legal transfer of those rights to the new location. It was a process that could consume months or even years of valuable project time.

Greenstone is a farming and water development company that uses its expertise to acquire and operate water assets in the southwest including surface water, groundwater, offstream storage, and underground storage, as well as the infrastructure necessary for water conveyance. As part of that successful business model, Greenstone acquired water rights credits available in Bernalillo and Los Lunas.

A New Approach

Greenstone, working closely with these two communities, created an alternative to the lengthy traditional rights-transfer mechanism.

Because Greenstone now owns water rights credits associated with completed transfers, developers in both cities are able to purchase water rights credits directly from Greenstone. This new process is a far simpler transaction that can be completed conveniently and quickly – before final plat approval – often at a significantly reduced cost. 

Carole Cristiano of Lee Wilson & Associates, the water rights specialist charged with facilitating the transfer of rights for both cities said, “It is a sophisticated concept, but Greenstone’s partners immediately understood it and its value. They worked diligently with us to make this new approach a reality.”

Greenstone is proud to play a vital role in helping these new projects succeed.