Area water issues addressed at meeting of watershed council

KINGMAN - An analysis of the water levels in the Sacramento Valley Groundwater Basin and Active Management Areas were topics of much discussion during the Northwest Arizona Watershed Council meeting on Wednesday.

Geologist Luis Vega presented an analysis of water levels in the Sacramento Valley Groundwater Basin.

The council sent Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Herb Guenther a letter with the information on March 31, in response to comments on water adequacy studies in the basin.

Contrary to studies completed in the area, two recently completed drill holes encountered bedrock at a relatively shallow depth where previous projections indicated bedrock to be much deeper, the letter stated.

They are also projecting a greater water demand than in previous operations at the Mineral Park Mine based off of news releases by the new owners.

"The water studies that rely on historical data are grossly underestimating the water demand from the mine," the letter stated.

The council called for the most advanced mode to study the impacts of groundwater pumping on an aquifer.

The most recent study of the basin by the ADWR is available on their Web site at www.azwater.gov.

The council plans to continue to keep the information flowing, as well as hold government agencies and private agencies accountable for information on water issues in Mohave County, Vega said.

"We're going to go through it, and they'll have to prove what they say," Vega added.

While NAWC Chairman Elno Roundy started a discussion of AMAs, John Fortune with the ADWR spent most of the time fielding questions and comments from the more than 30 people gathered.

Arizona's AMAs were established to provide long-term management and conservation of their limited groundwater supplies, the ADWR's Web site stated.

A key component is limiting irrigation on future agriculture development, Fortune said.

Since those present couldn't agree on what they would want from an AMA, Roundy decided to move the topic to next month's meeting.

While Kingman works on creating the infrastructure for the new hospital, they are waiting on the new council before starting new initiatives, said Dean Wolslagel, water conservation coordinator for the city.

The council also noted that April has been designated Water Awareness Month by Governor Janet Napolitano.