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3:26 AM Mon, Oct. 15th

Legislators to hold meeting on water issues

Former Mohave County Development Services Director Nick Hont points to the Monsoon Park basin that can be used to capture runoff from the mountains after rains. (Daily Miner File Photo)

Former Mohave County Development Services Director Nick Hont points to the Monsoon Park basin that can be used to capture runoff from the mountains after rains. (Daily Miner File Photo)

KINGMAN – State Sen. Gail Griffin and Rep. Rusty Bowers will hold a public meeting to discuss agricultural water issues at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.

Fellow members of the Senate Energy, Environment and Natural Resources and the House Land and Agricultural committees will also attend the meeting.

Members of the public will be invited to give a short testimony on how water-related issues are significant in their lives and businesses. All citizens wishing to make their views known must fill out a speaker slip.

Among the topics to be discussed: challenges faced by agricultural water users; strides made in using water wisely and efficiently; impact of metering and monitoring wells on agricultural operations; other issues legislators need to know.

Of particular interest is Senate Bill 1525, sponsored by Rep. Regina Cobb, R-Kingman, and passed by the Legislature in May. It appropriated $100,000 to the Arizona Department of Water Resources for contracting with an independent consultant to estimate the rate of groundwater depletion in northwest Arizona basins, particularly the Hualapai Basin.

The ongoing U.S. Geological Survey study, funded jointly by Mohave County Board of Supervisors and City of Kingman, will also be discussed. USGS is assessing the impact of groundwater withdrawals and enhanced recharge of the Hualapai Valley basin through groundwater monitoring and modeling.

ADWR has been conducting extensive measurements of water levels in wells in the Sacramento Valley, Detrital Valley Hualapai Valley and Meadview groundwater basins since February.

The lower-basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada have been working on a plan to stave off shortages in the Colorado River, and New Mexico has joined in the effort.

It’s critical that ADWR be authorized by the Legislature to sign Arizona onto the drought contingency plan, and to speak as “the one voice” for Arizona’s Colorado River users, Griffith said.

Another topic that will probably come up is the recent decision by Central Arizona Project’s Board of Director to cancel a plan to purchase certain farm leases and water rights in the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District.

The proposal was for CAP to acquire about 2,200 total acres of farmland and 13,929 acre-feet of diversion water rights, and to transfer about 5,500 acre feet of water annually from Mohave County to Central Arizona.

Griffin said agricultural water users need to ensure they have a strong voice in these important conversations. Attendance at this meeting is paramount in preserving Mohave County’s water resources, its future and destiny, she said.