USGS Present Results of 3 Year Study On Health of Hualapai Valley Basin Aquifer

Written by The Bee News

October 17, 2020

USGS Present Results of 3 Year Study

On Health of Hualapai Valley Basin Aquifer

Supervisors, AZ Rep Cobb, Kingman Mayor Miles Also Participate

KINGMAN, AZ (October 16, 2020 – It’s all about the Big W –Water and the goal of protecting and preserving this invaluable Mohave County resource. It will be the focal point of a major multi-media presentation this Monday, October 19 at 1:30pm in the County Administration Building auditorium at 700 W Beale St. in Kingman.

Sponsored by Mohave County, the City of Kingman, and, lead by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to complete a detailed three year study outlined before the Board of Supervisors and the public to determine the aquifer’s health and identify and implement future mitigation measures..

In 2017 Mohave County and the City of Kingman jointly initiated a contract with the USGS to develop a Groundwater Model for this basin because it is at risk of depletion below the 1200 foot level that Arizona law says is “physically available” groundwater. The Objective of the Groundwater Model is to develop the best available hydrologic tool to quantitatively assess the groundwater conditions for most purposes and for all water users.

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. Monday’s presentation will give an updated summary of the current status and a detailed look at the future of water resources in the county.

The goals resulting from the study include legislative action, the continued monitoring and calibration of a water model that will provide guidance for future mitigation measures, and the continuation of the partnership among Mohave County, the City of Kingman, and private land owners. County BOS Chairman Jean Bishop says the board is “critically concerned about resolving our water crisis in the Hualapai Valley Groundwater Basin.”

The public is invited to attend this important presentation or watch the event on Mohave County’s YouYube channel.

Below is additional information on the issue that might be useful:

Mohave County will continue to pursue an Irrigation Non-Expansion Area (INA) for two sub-basins in Hualapai Valley Basin (Kingman and Hualapai) to freeze Agricultural pumping that is in place today, and stop additional groundwater pumping.

Mohave County will continue to pursue a Legislative solution – the Legislature could simply declare, and place into law, an Irrigation Non-Expansion Area (INA) for the Hualapai basin, as it did in 1980 for the Douglas and Joseph City basins. (Regina Cobb’s 2019 Bill created the Mohave County West Basin Water Users Study Committee, and Supervisor Gary Watson and local Mohave County citizens serve on that committee chaired by Representative Cobb.)

Mohave County will continue to work with Representative Cobb, the City of Kingman, local Mohave County stakeholders, and press the Governor’s Office, the Legislature, and ADWR  on solutions. Regina Cobb’s 2019 Bill created the Mohave County West Basin Water Users Study Committee, and Supervisor Gary Watson and local Mohave County citizens serve on that committee chaired by Representative Cobb.  It will provide recommend solutions for our Groundwater Basins at Risk.

Mohave County continues to work with Representative Cobb on a new, innovative program to determine the appropriate management of Groundwater Basins at Risk outside of AMA’s. The information obtained from the  USGS, DWR and the Legislature’s independent consultant, and the results of the Study Committee will be used to pursue, with the Legislature and the Governor’s Office, the creation of a new Rural Groundwater Management Area (RMA).

An RMA would conceivably use the planning process of an “AMA Light” statute, to enact Water Planning Measures recommended by a local committee through the Department of Water Resources. The new RMA would then develop local “Goals and Objectives” to identify and achieve “Best Management Practices” for agricultural, industrial, municipal and domestic uses so that we can be better stewards of our limited groundwater resources for all users.

The Objective of the Groundwater Model is to develop the best available hydrologic tool to quantitatively assess the groundwater conditions for most purposes and for all water users. This report will be followed by publication of the full USGS Groundwater Model by USGS later this fall.

As part of the 2017 Study, the USGS implemented a revised aquifer monitoring program to establish the conditions with more accuracy using monitoring wells and gravity stations, Implemented a comprehensive Model Revision and Scenario Testing;

This report by USGS follows the publication of the MatrixNewWorld of its NORTHWEST BASINS GROUNDWATER RESOURCE ASSESSMENT in December of 2019 in consultation with the Arizona Department of Water Resources.  That report was mandated and funded by the Arizona Legislature in a bill and budget provision sponsored by Representative Regina Cobb in the 2018 Legislature.

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