A Plan for a Plan

We need a comprehensive plan for water supply augmentation in Green Valley. The best resource we have is the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). They can do a study for us—but we have to get money from the Feds for them to do it. Further, BOR has to have authority from a specific agency. At this time, Pima County is our only recourse. Places like Oro Valley and Marana, who are incorporated, have already had studies done for them and are now in the action phase, even though their water deficits are not as large as here in Green Valley.

So the challenge is to get authority for this planning stage. That authority would be the Board of Supervisors. I have spoken with Richard Elίas office in regard to placing Green Valley on the agenda for a presentation of our situation and an appeal that they sponsor us through the BOR process. Others may join us who live in areas of the County that do not have CAP water, including Arivaca. Once we have an authority asking for the study, we all have to write letters to our Congresspersons to ask them to put something in the budget for us.

Local Level
Please everyone, call Richard Elίas and Ray Carroll and let him know that we need a hearing with the County and get assistance from them. We need two actions:

1) We need assistance from the County in helping us through the process of obtaining the Bureau of Reclamation study, which will include a hydrological study of how deep the water table can recede before there is serious subsidence here.

2) Since the state water authority will not stop issuing 100-year water supply certificates for development—which means pumping water down to 1,000 feet without any consideration for subsidence—we have to have some local authority help us with stopping developments in this area.

State Level
Up until now, I have served as a go-between Green Valley citizens and the state water resource agency [ADWR]. The manager has been very forthright in telling me the facts and figures—when I ask the right questions. It has been a process for me. Every week I learn something new about water in Arizona and it is always NEGATIVE. The truth is we would be better off without a Groundwater Code and AMA’s. At least then you could go beat up your neighbor for draining your well, but now you have to call an agency that says, “There’s nothing anyone can do for you until you are pumping water from 1,000 feet—then call us….” Pray tell, what are they going to do then? I say we better put that plan into place now!!

For all practical purposes, water law for the sake of the public does not exist in Arizona. It has been called everything from a scam to a scandal to a swindle. I’ve been studying the situation carefully for several years and I can honestly say that, in my informed opinion, it is all of the above. Our water problem and all other water problems are due to lack of appropriate legislation in the state.

Herb Guenther, director of the state water resources department, was quoted recently in the East Valley Tribune as saying, “The system is broken.” “It doesn’t work.” “It has no meaning.”

In a 1999 water adjudication case, Arizona Supreme Court Judge Noel A. Fidel stated, “ The Arizona legislature has erected statutory frameworks for regulating surface water and groundwater based on Southwest Cotton.”

It is time for us to bug the hell out of the authorities. Somehow Green Valley residents have gotten the idea sitting around listening to lectures is “doing something.” It’s not… It is going to take an outcry of the people—nothing less. Two hundred of you showed up for the ADEQ hearings in the middle of the summer, so that’s how we got action on the mining situation. Now we have to double that number to be able move forward on the depletion issue. Nothing less is going to work.

We are going to have to work on the legislators, who understand next to nothing about water. Some are calling for more studies—when we are already endangering the forests from the amount of paper used to print the water studies!! Forest Service, US Geological Survey and our universities are thriving economically on producing water studies. We need some action from them.

From legislation passed in the Senate last week, the legislators seem determined to lead us down a very dry dusty path. They simply will not listen to the recommendations of the water experts. And isn’t it our fault? Who do we elect? How many legislators are real estate agents? I find our local reps very hard to contact by phone. Letters and e-mails seem the best avenue to contact them.

Safe Yield
The fact in is water was mandated to be in “safe yield” by 2025 in our ( Tucson) AMA. This means a simple balanced equation: equal water “in” (from rainwater and/or effluent) and equal water “out” of the aquifer. Everyone must call the District 30 legislators, Senator Bee, Rep. McClure and Rep. Paton and tell them:

“We are not getting ‘safe yield’ in Green Valley and we want to know the reason! We are in the Tucson active management area, yet our water supply is sustaining a deficit of 31,000 acre feet of groundwater per year, which will cause subsidence. We should have the same consideration as everyone else.”

Again, here are the steps to the plan:

1) Arrange with Board of Supervisors to stop building in Green Valley and other areas with critical water supplies in the County and to serve as agent for a Bureau of Reclamation study.

2) Contact the state legislators to let them know we are not going to be duped into giving up our “safe yield” status.

3) When the Board agrees to act as out agent, contact our Congress persons to put something in the federal budget for the study.

Are there still viable recourses? Yes—there are still some options. But we don’t even have a governing body to deal with authorities. Since we refuse to pay any taxes to provide one, we have to do the work ourselves!

And I would appreciate you notifying me (contact@g-a-l.info or 207-6506) of your phone calls and letters to the water authorities and legislators, so I can use the figures as leverage when I talk to them.

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