Nice Article from the Kingman Daily Miner this Morning
- Mohave County needs to do everything it can to conserve water and
gain political control of groundwater rights, the Planning and Zoning
Commission was told Tuesday during a public workshop on the general
Kingman is losing about 7,000 acre-feet a year of
groundwater supply from the Hualapai Basin, and the city's aquifers
could run dry after about 100 years, geologist Luis Vega said during his
presentation at the two-hour workshop.
Approximation on the amount of water available in the basin seems to be a "whipping point" for a lot of people, Vega said.
"They say we can't tell how much water is in the basin. That's not true," Vega said.
referred to a 2013 study by the U.S. Geological Survey that establishes
a model for the impact of water discharge and recharge. It showed
10,000 acre-feet of recharge a year and 17,000 acre-feet going out,
including 8,900 acre-feet to the city of Kingman.
question is not how much water down to the gallon is in Hualapai Basin,"
Vega noted. "That's like counting deer on Hualapai Mountain. You might
count the same deer three or four times. The real question is whether
it's going down or up, and what is the impact going to be."
That was the concern of about 25 people who attended the workshop at Mohave County Public Works' Turquoise Room.
man said he understands the furor over Jim Rhodes and Kingman Farms
drawing an estimated 25,000 acre-feet to grow alfalfa in the Red Lake
area, but conservation is the bigger picture.
A member of the
Hualapai tribe encouraged county officials to "aggressively" pursue a
management plan that would include a full assessment of water resources
and promote water conservation, like collecting rainfall.
citizen wanted to know if anyone at the county level is keeping tabs on
the total amount of water being used. Is there a "dynamic process" in
place that says we're at our limit for drawdown, or is it reviewed every
"For far too long, this state has given water to
other states," another man said. "When you need a drink and it's not
there, you're going to do whatever you need to get it."
County deputy attorney Robert Taylor said the county doesn't have much
control over groundwater resources. Groundwater, or water under the
surface of the Earth, is not subject to appropriation or ownership, he
"There's not much regulation outside of an AMA (Active
Management Area)," Taylor said. "It's reasonable use, which means the
property owner has the right to capture water for beneficial use, but
can't take water away from the property."
The focus for counties outside of an AMA has been how to obtain water, rather than monitoring use, he said.
Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Supervisors are authorized
to consider the impact of water supply when considering land use zoning,
and those concerns can be addressed in developing the general plan,
Vega said the Arizona Department of Water Resources
controls water use inside an Active Management Area, but there are no
measuring devices required on wells outside an AMA and no reporting
County residents should "beware of unintended
consequences" when making water management decisions, Vega said. ADWR's
safe-yield, in which usage is balanced by recharge, cannot be attained
in Mohave County, even with no growth, he said.
Hualapai aquifer will run dry," Vega said. "It might not be in our
lifetime. One of the things we need to do is stop low-priority,
high-volume use such as agriculture."
Arizona law exempts agriculture and mining from the well permit process, said Nick Hont, director of development services.
just do it. People don't come to the county, they just drill a well and
pump," Hont said. "They just have to put it to beneficial use."
now, local government is severely limited in what we can do to protect
water supply," added Steve Moss, chairman of the county Board of
It's a political battle, and Mohave County doesn't have "big guns in that fight," Moss said.
in Phoenix and Tucson have more power, and when water allocation from
the Colorado River is cut and the pressure is on for water supply,
they're going to say their demands are greater than Mohave County's,
"Engage with state legislators," he told the audience.
"If we throw ourselves into the hands of ADWR, we throw ourselves into
the fire. I don't think an AMA or INA is the way to go. I believe there
are local measures to take, but asking Phoenix or Maricopa (County) to
save us - bad idea."