How deep do you have to drill to get water? Looking around <google earth> the area I notice irrigation circles but not many. This suggest the aqquifier is either very deep or has a low flow rate that doesn’t allow lot of irrigation.
I too have been mulling over how to build a compatible community. The little hamlet I live in now is dying. The gas station general store burnt and will not be rebuilt because the insurance company suspects arson. The local school is being closed down and the post office only opens every other day.
I think it may be easier to convert an existing small community to being off grid than it is to start an off grid community from scratch. You are correct about the kinds of people needed but you also have to have some sort of social activity focus for recreation. Once you get past 10 people it becomes difficcult to host any sort of activity at a private home.
What others are reading
For films about individuals and technologies for living off the grid X