Report to Corporation Commission
Subject: CAP pipeline to Green Valley
We are here today for two reasons:
First, the lack of competent water management in Arizona , and, second, the lack of self-governance and public process in Green Valley .
Mining and other industry is exempt from all rules regarding water use, including hydrological assessments. Therefore, mining companies can put in a well anywhere they deem has enough water for their operations without consideration of other users. When I brought this fact up in an Arizona Senate Natural Resource Committee hearing, Jake Flake, the chairman, made a wisecrack that I didn't know what I was talking about. Here is an example in our own back yard—so you can see how well our Legislators are informed. Obviously, this makes the 100-year water supply certificates in this region null and void. If a user is going be able to pump more water than the entire residential and business usage of Sahuarita and Green Valley, in an area that is over 40,000 acre feet deficit each year, then all the certificates will have to be recalculated.
So whatever is decided here today, we see that we need to cure the cause with water laws that fit today's declining water tables—all over the state. Water management has to change from “suck it down to bedrock or 1,000 ft, then we will decide what to do” to a scientific assessment based on cost of pumping down to 1,000 ft., cost of filtering low quality water at 1,000 ft., lowering water levels in public and private wells, and the danger of subsidence in the area.
Section 2 of the Arizona Constitution states: All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.
The Arizona Groundwater Code, adopted in 1980, clearly states in the introduction:
Arizonans realized water is not private property, but rather is a public resource that should be regulated for everyone's benefit.
We, people, must insist that we be given first rights to this public resource.
Second problem: Green Valley has voted against incorporation at least three times. Therefore, we have no governing body to look out for our interests, but only a “spokesperson. I could not understand why the “spokesperson” for our community was continually denying the water data, until I realized that GVCCC is the Board of Directors for the HOA's, so we know where their interests lie. So in Green Valley we are a community who are not even willing to pay a tax to be able to have some self-rule to protect our own interests—therefore the situation has reached a crisis with the new high water user.
The third factor is that I have been trying to get the County to join in and help the situation for over a year—because they do approve new developments. Further, we need a definitive study of our local watershed. I think everyone can understand that it does not make sense to have a 40,000 acre foot annual deficit creating a sump upstream in the regional water basin. The County refused to give us any assistance, including putting in any funds for a study.
It was in this environment that the Community Water Company felt compelled to negotiate an agreement with Augusta Mining Company. It looked like a good solution. Augusta would be recharging their groundwater pumping in that same region, instead of in Marana. And in the end, Community water would have a pipeline for its CAP allocations. It should be noted that Community Water is the one and only entity that has tried to do something about our water shortage and they are to be respected and honored for that.
However, everyone interpreted the agreement that it would help the mine permitting. So in the past few months, the County officials and even the Home Builders have decided to help the situation. A coalition of local water users and providers is being formed to make local decisions.
CAP is not the answer for this community. In 2004, it received the award for being the dirtiest, most polluted river in U.S. Arizona Dept of Environmental Quality responded with a 116-page report on recommendations and solutions. Further, it is the most expensive water. Green Valley 's allocations of 5,600 acre feet will not solve our 40,000 acre foot deficit. Where will we get the remaining 35,000 af? It can only be with facilities for catchment of stormwater, which as proved in Chandler , AZ can be very effective and economical. Community Water and others should have been working on this solution years ago—as the water deficit has been well known—and not waiting until the water table is 300 ft below surface. Our water companies have let us down in only planning for this one solution—the most expensive. So we get 5,600 af feet of CAP—what will we do then?
We are in a water crisis unless we change something now. We have to change the laws and we have to get some projects—check dams in the washes, reservoirs in the mountains, recharge basins in town and on the golf courses. It's being done everywhere but in Arizona —even in Wisconsin where it rains a lot. What is wrong here?.
Personally, I am going to use all my expertise and energy to see that Augusta Resource is not permitted. Whether or not, the mine is permitted or not, Augusta must use CAP water for all of its operations.