County OKs $20,000 for water study

With help from city, funds will complete work started years ago

KINGMAN - The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved giving the Arizona Department of Water Resources $20,000 in order to finish a preliminary groundwater flow model for the Hualapai, Detrital and Sacramento aquifers Monday.

County Supervisor Gary Watson was recently contacted by ADWR about a $50,000 grant the department received. The department needed $50,000 in matching funds and had received a $10,000 donation, but still needed to cover $40,000. ADWR asked if the county and the city of Kingman would be able to contribute to the matching funds.

The money from the county was contingent on the Kingman City Council approving a similar amount at its meeting Monday night.

"So what do we get for this money and when?" Board Chairman Buster Johnson asked ADWR Statewide Rural Water Planning Manager Tom Whitmer.

Whitmer explained that in the early 2000s there was great concern over two major subdivisions moving into the Detrital groundwater basin, and ADWR and the U.S. Geological Survey was asked to complete a groundwater and groundwater flow model of the basin. ADWR came to the county two years ago for $100,000 in additional funds after the study was expanded to include the Hualapai and Sacramento aquifers and the state cut funding to rural water programs, he said.

The study of all three aquifers is nearly complete. The only thing that remains unfinished is the groundwater flow model, Whitmer said.

The model is a tool the county, developers and others can use to project the impact of future development might have on the aquifers in the area, he said. The model will also give residents an estimate of how much water is in the aquifers, how much is being used and an estimate of how much is recharged back into the basin, he said.

If ADWR were able to get enough money to meet the grant requirements, the USGS would be able to finish the groundwater flow model in a year and have it published in a year to 18 months, Whitmer said. The model would cover all three aquifers and the Colorado River and Lake Mead areas.

Jim Kanelos and another a member of the Northwest Arizona Watershed Council asked the county to support funding for the study.

It would be the only way the county could effectively manage future growth, one member of the NAWC said.

The Board voted unanimously to approve in $20,000 funding from the county for the study.