Supervisors address valley water issues

KINGMAN – The Mohave County Board of Supervisors, in a series of items, voted unanimously to protect the water allocated to the Golden Valley Improvement District No. 1 at their meeting Monday. Water availability within the district has begun to come under scrutiny as more and more people apply to subdivide their lots and developers move in to create urban density communities.

For months, the organizers, as well as the residents of Golden Valley Improvement District No. 1, have been watching from the sidelines as the number of water allocations dwindles. More and more residents have begun to object to lot splits in fear that the water will run out. The county has already determined that there are currently more legally potential lots (those that have already been rezoned) than there are remaining water allocations.

In May, Public Works presented a position paper to the Board, identifying that “changing land regulations, ministerial land divisions, rezone applications and subdivisions within the Golden Valley Improvement District No. 1 have expanded water service requests beyond the District’s ability to serve, and major users of the Sacramento Aquifer may limit the District’s ability to obtain additional allocations,” according to meeting backup.

As a continuance of that position paper, Public Works recommended that a study be conducted to analyze the aquifer serving the district to determine its capacity to serve all properly zoned parcel splits within the district. Monday, Public Works requested that authorization to continue to proceed with a contract with Paul Manera, who was the original geohydrologist for the district, to reassess the aquifer to determine whether additional water would be available.

The Board also decided to adopt a resolution establishing an amendment to the GVID Policy and Procedure Memorandum to prioritize the sale of unassigned water allocations.

This resolution, according to backup material, will allow the district to “continue to sell unassigned service connections or water access rights on a first-come, first-served basis to owners of properly zoned parcels of ministerial land divisions, determined on the basis of zoning classification as of June 19, 2006.”

Public Works, on the basis of their May position paper, also recommended to the Board that the available number of water allocations be considered when considering GVID land divisions proposal. Further, it was recommended for developers to specify on the parcel plat which lots would and would not receive a water allocation. Again, the Board voted unanimously to accept the recommendation.

To further insure the availability of water within the GVID, the Board approved a recommendation that would “require subdivision developers to determine, by hydrology study, a 100-year water supply adequacy, either within the District or out of District, to all lots within the subdivision, in addition to and separate from the District water allocations, without adversely impacting the District.”

The Public Works Department said that a more southerly portion of the Sacramento Aquifer is believed to have a larger, presently unused groundwater storage capacity.

This knowledge, they said, could help them to provide a significant increase to the district’s water allocations. They recommended to the Board, therefore, to authorize the GVID to identify, purchase and annex one or more well sites south of and outside the current GVID boundaries. Again, the Board unanimously approved the recommendation.

The GVID was established in 1979 and maintains a resident-funded water system drawing from the Sacramento Aquifer.

Spanning 40 square miles, the boundaries of the GVID extend to Shinarump Road to the south, Chinle Drive to the north, Ganado Road to the west and Teddy Roosevelt Road to the east.

A hydrology study conducted at the time determined 6,200 total water allocations (one per household) with 4,570 assigned to district parcels. According to the position paper, the district sold or otherwise obligated more than 541 unassigned allocations to approximately 1,089.

“Recently, requests for unassigned water allocations have significantly exceeded the number of unassigned allocations the District has available,” the position paper stated.

With the permission of the Board, the GVID will move forward to further protect the water and the water users within the GVID boundaries.