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Water--Supply:
groundwater transfers; Coconino plateau

Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: HB2772
Sponsor: Mason
Legislative Session: 2008 Legislative Session

HB2772 NOW: groundwater transfers; Coconino plateau (Mason) allows the Town of Williams to transfer water from one basin to another – from the Verde Valley Sub-basin to the Coconino Plateau Basin, thus codifying a mistake into law and granting a special exception to the groundwater code. The groundwater code was established to try and limit groundwater pumping and to try to better manage our water resources in Arizona.  It prohibits the transportation of groundwater across a groundwater basin boundary.  This was implemented to limit “water wars” and to limit the ability to take water from one area to the detriment of another.  Unfortunately the code did not, and still does not, recognize the impacts of groundwater pumping and groundwater transfers on the surface water, including seeps, springs, streams, and rivers.

 

This bill ratifies a mistake and sets a bad precedent.  Every time someone drills a well in the wrong location, will they be able to expect special legislation?  In an age when we have much better mapping, GPS coordinates, and all kinds of ways to verify locations, this should not be happening.

 

At a minimum please ask that the bill be amended to require additional monitoring of springs and other surface water to ensure there is no harm to Verde River.   The state should be responsible for and act to protect resources and should not rely on Salt River Project alone to protect the Verde. 

 

Status

 

Action Needed

Unfortunately, there is nothing more that can be done on this.  We will need to keep an eye on it.

More information

To view a copy of the bill or a  more detailed status, click on HB2772.

Contact

Sandy Bahr at (602) 253-8633 or sandy.bahr@sierraclub.org

Background

The groundwater code was established to try and limit groundwater pumping and to try to better manage our water resources in Arizona.  It prohibits the transportation of groundwater across a groundwater basin boundary, except under limited exceptions, one of which was the terrible exception that Carol Springer got through to allow Prescott to pump groundwater in the Big Chino Sub-basin.  This is an issue because it affects the flows of the Verde River.  Unfortunately the code did not, and still does not, recognize the impacts of groundwater pumping and groundwater transfers on the surface water.

     
     

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