As you will see by the following reports, there has been an increased concern for water management in
A brief summary of each report is provided with a link to the entire report. The principal issue is permiting for housing developments without any hydrological studies that calculate loss of rivers, streams and riparian habitat, impact on adjacent wells, or danger of subsidence. Further, since industry, including the heavy water users, mining and electric power plants, and wells that pump 35 gallons of water per minute (equivalent to 56 acre feet annually=the amount used by 56 urban families of four in a year) or less) are exempt. These issues exist both inside and outside AMA's, for not all areas in AMA's have CAP water. It could be summarized by stating many areas that do not have direct use of CAP water are in danger of critical water depletion, this includes
1963 USGS Report
“ Arizona’s water problem is grave. The beautiful scenery, fine climate and fertile soil, like those of other southwestern states, have combined to entice an even larger number of people to settle there, and water demands have grown accordingly.”
1980 Groundwater Code
The plan was to get heavy agriculture use off of groundwater. The farmers did not cooperate, and urban sprawl was mushrooming in both Phoenix and Tucson.
1985 Colorado River water arrived in Arizona
CAP was to solve all Arizona’s water problems. (Future Water Info Sheet will detail CAP’s history in Arizona). Fifteen years later a report came out in U.S. Water News, indicating otherwise:
2000 U.S. Water News Online
1) continued support for funding the current Rural Watershed Initiative;
Governor Hull's Commission principal recommendations for the AMA’s:
1) Limit exempt wells
2004: Report by Arizona Policy Forum Outlines Risks of Rural Water Situation
1) Require that a long-term physical water supply must be demonstrated before new residential development is allowed to proceed.
2) Allow a new well to be drilled to serve a new residential use only if there is a 100-year water supply for the proposed use.
3) Establish a state program of impact fees on new residential development to provide matching funds for water resources planning, acquisition and infrastructure to applicants demonstrating significant problems meeting current or projected residential water demands—with an early emphasis on assisting rural areas.
"Allowing the continued rapid growth that is occurring in many of Arizona's rural areas without the assured availability of long-term water supplies poses severe risks for rural Arizona's future," said Phoenix attorney Dan Salcito, a member of the board of the Arizona Policy Forum. Salcito, of Plattner Verderame P.C., co-chaired the water advisory committee with attorney Marvin Cohen, Sacks Tierney P.A., Scottsdale.
2004: Eighty-Fifth Arizona Town Hall “ Arizona’s Water Future: Challenges and Opportunities”
“Water is the lifeblood of Arizona's vitality, lifestyle and growth. Fortunately, Arizona's leaders, from the time of statehood and even before, had the vision and foresight, intelligence and tenacity to plan and implement policies and projects to develop a reliable and safe water supply. Current and future leaders must step forward in today's climate of further unprecedented growth and current drought conditions to continue that safe and reliable water supply. Following are just a few of the major recommendations that the record-setting 177 participants at the 85th Town Hall developed that reflect what they believe must take place to accomplish the mission of maintaining a reliable and safe water supply for the future.”
2004: Governor’s Water Listening Session/Tucson & Phoenix
No transcript or list of persons who commented was ever made available.
The following comments were made by Holly Richter, Upper San Pedro Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy in Arizona:
Long-Range Water Policy Issues/Recommendations
In most parts of Arizona, we are over-dependent on groundwater.
Failure to adequately manage Arizona’s new growth jeopardizes the reliability of water supplies for existing residents and economic drivers, as well as our rivers.
Rural communities need additional growth management tools in order to balance the sustainable use of water resources with rapidly growing populations.
In the face of both rapid population growth and extended drought, rural communities in Arizona need to make some tough water management decisions relatively quickly.
The ability to manage water use and resources on a regional basis outside of Active Management Areas authority to manage proposed development based on sustainable water supplies authority to establish transfer of development rights (TDR) programs authority to control wildcat subdivisions and lot splits. Private water companies need the ability to request water surcharges for excessive water use in rural areas. ADWR has a pivotal role to play statewide by providing information from which sound water management decisions can be made, but requires additional funding to fulfill its mission.
The allocation, distribution and cost of water can be integrated into Arizona’s overall planning through better coordination among the state’s water regulation entities and all levels of government, including tribal governments. There should be conjunctive (joint) management of ground and surface water. Counties and local jurisdictions need expanded powers to incorporate water resource planning concerns into land use decisions, including the monitoring and managing of groundwater, and restrictions on developments in areas with inadequate water supplies. As recommended by the 85th Arizona Town Hall, all domestic wells outside of AMAs should be metered. There is concern that the current pricing structure of water does not provide an incentive for prudent use, and that implementation of effective tiered rates often is hampered by Corporation Commission regulations, practices and recent appellate court decisions.
At the conclusion of two Town halls held in 2006, the participants were asked to rank priorities for Arizona, Water Resources came in second, after land use. Under water resources, they prioritized three strategies.
1) Maximize conservation strategies and efforts.
2) Develop strategies for sustainable future water supplies.
3) Develop measurement and regulation of resources, particularly outside Active Management Areas.
There was general agreement about the need for cities and counties outside of active management areas (AMA) to have the authority to require the demonstration of water supply adequacy before a subdivision is approved.2007 Tucson Town Hall
Given the rapid growth of Tucson, the rest of Central Arizona and the State, the following is recommended to the Tucson Business Community:
Is someone trying to tell the Legislators something? And why aren't they listening.