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Local Opinion: San Pedro not protected by adequate water supply

Posted by   /  October 23, 2019  /  No Comments

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Environmentalists fear groundwater pumping for the 28,000-home Villages at Vigneto project will negatively affect the St. David Cienega. Pictured here is a naturally occurring water tank in the cienega near the San Pedro Riparian Area outside St. David.
/Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

By Thomas Meixner | Special to the Arizona Daily 

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.

Lanny Davis has now twice stated in these pages that it’s simple common sense that if the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) said there was an adequate water supply that the San Pedro would be protected. However, the adequate water supply law does not protect nearby surface waters. The adequate water supply permit simply requires the developer demonstrate that it has enough water to meet the demands of development for a period of 100 years.

Impacts on other landowners and on surface waters are not protected. Lest there be any doubt on this question, consider the 2018 Arizona Supreme Court decision in Silver v. Pueblo Del Sol. In establishing the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) in 1988, the U.S. Congress created a federal water right to meet the purposes of the SPRNCA, which includes the protection of surface waters. In Silver, the court ruled that there was no obligation on ADWR, in deciding whether Pueblo del Sol had an adequate water supply, to consider the impacts of the development on the San Pedro River.


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  • Published: 7 months ago on October 23, 2019
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  • Last Modified: October 23, 2019 @ 10:51 am
  • Filed Under: Real Estate, Water

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