Growing water shortage spurs calls for groundwater protection

Watson Lake, Prescott

Peter Aleshire, consulting publications editor 

Payson Roundup

Groundwater water use is rising.

The water table’s dropping.

And the temperature’s climbing.

No wonder no one wanted to answer Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District board member Larry Bagshaw’s awkward question just before the board voted to resume issuing a limited number of water meters, two years into a moratorium that has halted most new development in the unincorporated community.

Related: How farmers can help combat climate change while feeding the world

“Let’s deal with reality,” said Bagshaw. “Fact number one: State law requires an assured 100-year water supply.”

Well – that’s not quite right. The state requires a 100-year water supply for any new development in the groundwater basins receiving water from the Colorado River – mostly in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties. The state agreed to groundwater management in those urban counties in return for a federally-funded, $5 billion canal from the Colorado River to Tucson. Rural counties – like Gila, Navajo and Apache – aren’t covered and the state legislature has repeatedly refused to give the counties the power to regulate groundwater pumping.

“Let’s take a little poll,” said Bagshaw. “How many agree if we start releasing meters it reduces water supply year to year?”

“Water supply is based on what’s coming out of the wells – and whether it meets demand. You can’t predict going forward,” said Board Chairman Cory Ellsworth.

Ah, well: There’s the rub.


Share this!

Additional Articles

Get Our Twice Weekly Newsletter!

* indicates required

Rose Law Group pc values “outrageous client service.” We pride ourselves on hyper-responsiveness to our clients’ needs and an extraordinary record of success in achieving our clients’ goals. We know we get results and our list of outstanding clients speaks to the quality of our work.

News Categories
September 2023