Water Run$ Uphill to MONEY
By Barb Buntin
Back in the 1980’s, Arizona started developing some groundwater regulations/policy. A meeting was put together about 2005+ to get some of the people involved back in the 80’s to explain what was the thinking.
Well very simply put, the money from back east was drying up and Arizona needed to do something to get the money flowing again. So the state came up with the 100 year water supply scheme. Now this was a good start and very necessary.
Since then much has happened. One thing is the Active Management Area (AMA) policy. There are maybe four AMA’s in Arizona. That allows for the developer of the land to not only prove the 100 Year supply but also the impact on existing wells.
So if you live in an area like I came from down in Cochise County a developer could come in and drill a bigger, deeper
well and suck everyone’s existing well dry. They had the law on their side.
So if you are one of the 1500 + well owners in the area you are not too keen on that happening to your well. Bottom line is we had to do a referendum to overturn the zoning change that allowed for maybe 10X the density as there was on the ranch land.
I did learn some interesting things in the years long process. Like the water in our acquirer was 10,000 years old (i.e. the last time there was enough moisture to fill it was in the last ice age).
Also down in the Wilcox area there is so much farming, orchards and dairy farming that many peoples individual wells are drying up.
So the statistics at the time was that only two to three percent of the water that hit the land actually got down to the acquifir.
The rest was run off and evaporated.
Gila County Supervisor Steve Christensen, in the Sept. 30, 2022 Roundup, insists that our region doesn’t need to protect our water tables. Maybe what was being discussed at the Rural Groundwater Action Plan meeting he went to was not good and he has had enough. But the idea that we do not need to protect our water is short sighted.
One meeting I went to way back then, one old guy said “well what are we going to do if we run out of water” another old guy said “we’ll move to where there is water”. Think about it.
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