Arizona Water Resources Director Called On For Action

Published by The Bee News

February 6, 2020

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Arizona Water Resources Director Called On For Action

(Kingman, AZ 2/5/20) Mohave County Supervisors voted unanimously (5-0) at their latest meeting (2/3/20) to approve its chairman signing a letter to Thomas Buschatzke, the Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources to undertake actions to designate the Hualapai Valley Groundwater Basin (less the Southern Greggs Subarea) an Irrigation Non-Expansion Area (INA). Mohave County officials are very active in protecting their water rights and strongly contend that the expansion of large scale agricultural usage is rapidly depleting the aquifer and the potential remains for further expansion in the future. County Manager Mike Hendrix says the response is “Mohave County’s ongoing attempt to protect and preserve water in our area.” The goal of the county in this specific instance is for ADWR Director Buschatzke, pursuant to ARS 5-432, to initiate the process to designate the Kingman Subarea and the Hualapai Subarea of the Hualapai Valley Groundwater Basin (less the Southern Greggs Subarea) an Irrigation Non-Expansion Area. The Chairman’s letter expresses the need for urgent action and states that “inaction means Mohave County must wait for our new farms to exhaust our groundwater basin before any action may be taken by the state of Arizona,
and then it will be way too late for the residents of Mohave County.

County Manager Hendrix adds that “if the director decides to declare the areas irrigation non- expansion areas, with some exceptions, only acres of land which were irrigated at any time

during the five years preceding the date of the notice of the initiation of designation procedures may be irrigated.” The chairman’s letter states that the findings of a December, 2019 Arizona Department of Water Resources Report “indicate there is insufficient groundwater to provide a reasonably safe supply for sustained irrigation of cultivated lands in the basin at the current and predicted rates of withdrawal.” The report findings also show groundwater depletion is due to large scale irrigation with the water level dropping below ground surface in less than 100 years. Finally, the chairman’s letter, closes by saying the Board of Supervisors is “critically concerned about resolving our water crisis in the Hualapai Valley Groundwater Basin.” It calls on Director Buschatzke for “assistance in managing the ground water in Mohave County’s Hualapai Valley Groundwater Basin, less the Southern Greggs Subarea, by designating the Basin an Irrigation Non-Expansion Area. The letter was sent on February 5.

For further information or comment, please contact: Mohave County Manager Mike Hendrix

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