Miner Editorial | We need to protect the water we have

Water: We can’t afford to wait and see

There has been good news recently along the water front here in Mohave County.

Central Arizona Project’s Board of Directors has canceled its plans to purchase farm leases and water rights from the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District. If the sale went through, this would have meant CAP transferring about 5,000 acre feet of water annually from Mohave County to Central Arizona.

There are a couple of local officials who deserve way-to-goes. Reports have reached the Daily Miner that District 5 Supervisor Lois Wakimoto was relentless is championing Mohave County’s fight against this water being taken away. Way to go, Sup. Wakimoto.

State Rep. Regina Cobb (R-Kingman) filed a complaint with the state attorney general’s office regarding MVIDD claiming there was a conflict of interest in that members of MVIDD’s board could personally benefit from the sale. We may never know how much this action by Cobb influenced the new development, but we have to think Cobb’s interest held sway.

Cobb has also sponsored a bill that appropriates $100,000 to Arizona Department of Water Resources to contract an independent consultant to estimate the rate of groundwater depletion in the northwest basins. That includes the Hualapai Valley Basin, in which Kingman is highly interested. Way to go, Rep. Cobb.

There is a public meeting to discuss agricultural water issues at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St. Our farming neighbors and the public get to participate in discussions regarding agricultural challenges, the strides made using water wisely and efficiently, and the impact of metering and monitoring wells on agricultural operations.

There is also the ongoing U.S. Geological Survey, funded jointly by Mohave County and City of Kingman, which will be also be discussed. This is a 3-year study assessing the impact of groundwater withdrawals and enhanced recharges into the Hualapai Valley Basin. To all those involved in these two actions that focus on our water, way to go.

The Daily Miner Editorial Board is disturbed by comments made by Mohave County Board of Supervisors chairman Gary Watson (Dist. 1).

The Daily Miner understands our farming neighbors are entitled to do what they want on their property. We support them and are encouraged by those in place that they are just as interested as we are in being wise regarding water usage.

The Daily Miner is concerned about new agricultural operations showing up and drilling wells in our basins, and this is why we’re concerned with Sup. Watson’s words.

“Regulation … that’s not something Mohave County is capable of doing,” Watson told the Daily Miner.

Why can’t Mohave County regulate to prevent new agricultural operations from starting up? If we ask most people around here, Mohave County regulates just about everything. The county can regulate how many dogs may live on a property, but it can’t regulate whether a new land purchaser can drill wells that can pump out an amazingly large amount of water from our basins?

We are hopeful allowing new drillers into the county isn’t about new property tax collections. We want to believe the supervisors who are currently sitting on our board are placing the welfare of its citizens before dollars from a parcel purchase out in the middle of nowhere that can all of sudden increase in value, and more property tax dollars, because water is being pumped out of it.

The Daily Miner Editorial Board is not satisfied with Sup. Watson’s response. We would like to see public meetings take place where the issue of allowing new operations unlimited access to our water is discussed.