Developers optimistic about proving adequate water

KINGMAN – Despite some setbacks delivered by the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Rhodes Homes and Mardian are pushing forward, already talking to Mohave County Supervisor Pete Byers about three additional General Plan major amendments.

Byers said the two Las Vegas developers have already approached him about three more projects that would require major amendments. Byers said he has told them that he intends to vote against any more projects for at least a year.

The staff in multiple departments, he said, is already overworked with projects already approved for planning. He said that steady, controlled growth is good for a community, however, too much of anything can be a bad thing. Byers said he doesn’t want to see growth in the county stop, but he also doesn’t want it to get out of hand.

Byers also pointed out he has been told that major investors for the current projects have started to back off due to a fear of the developments not making it through the various stages of approval. This questionable funding for current projects will also bring doubt on future projects.

Both developers, however, are still optimistic about their respective development projects.

Brian Tasenary, a spokesman for the Mardian Group, said the group has scaled back the proposed 30,000 homes for their Ranch at White Hills project to 25,000. The decision, however, was not based on recent letters from ADWR calling the adequate availability of water into question. He said the Mardian Group has been conversing with ADWR in an effort to prove adequate water supply and have drilled more wells to provide additional information. A final determination has not yet been made.

Rhodes Homes projects in White Hills and Golden Valley have also received letters from ADWR questioning the availability of water for the entire build-out of the master-planned communities. ADWR told Rhodes that based on the information it have been given so far, there was not proof of enough water for the projects.

Rhodes has received approval for the first three stages of his Golden Valley South development. The total build out was estimated to need approximately 15,000 acre-feet of water, however, ADWR said that proof was only there to support 9,000 acre-feet of water. The first three stages of the project would use about 2,500 acre-feet of water a year.

The current approval from ADWR was based on information from a single well in Golden Valley, said Rhodes’ spokesman Bill Marion. Although the total build-out is still up in the air, he said they are confident that there is sufficient water to cover both projects.

Marion said that they have what they think are the most experienced hydrologists working on their projects.

“We know the hydrologists are providing us with the best science available,” he said. “We will continue working with the ADWR to meet the requirements. We are confident that our hydrologists will work to prove an adequate water supply.”

Both developers have said that more information is being submitted to ADWR and they still have a long road to travel before a final determination is made on the projects.