To:       Local Watershed Coalition: Green Valley-Sahuarita


Nancy Freeman, Executive Director
Groundwater Awareness League
(501-c3 non-profit)
P. O. Box 934
Green Valley , AZ 85622
Phone: 520/207-6506

Date: January 11, 2008

Subject: Resources and Information in regard to water depletion in Green Valley-Sahuarita region

Dear Friends,

Following are some resources that I think will be useful to your efforts to bring renewable water to our region, including some information I have gleaned through the years that might also be useful. I have been working gathering the information for a month—so I think I have developed a decent working resource for you. Repeatedly I thought I had it together, and then another idea or publication surfaced. As I mentioned to Dennis Skelton, I do have other data tables that I have compiled. When the data committee is up and running, I will send over what I have so they don't have to duplicate efforts. A lot of information is posted on and is updated regularly.... but not everything I have collected in posted (especially some recent stuff--since I had computer challenges for the entire month of December).


1) Annette Tanori, Senior Associate

Development Planning and Financing Group, Inc.
602/381-3226 Ext. 25

This group helps local areas helps with infrastructure plans, including setting up a water authority to pay for them—for example, procure loans from regional group, apply for Federal aid, set-up a taxing authority. Annette comes to Tucson regularly and will happy to meet with the group. Incidentally, she grew up in Sahuarita.

2) Mark Stratton, General Manager

Metropolitan Domestic Water Improvement District, Tucson

Metro Water tried to facilitate a regional group that would enable Metro and other water companies in north Pima County to access their CAP water allotments. Mark told me a couple of months ago that he would be glad to come down and discuss what they did—even though they were not successful. However, their plan was permissible in the state within an AMA—so should be relevant.

3) Phelps Dodge aquifer characterization report:

The hydrological report concerning the sulfate plume but also containing critical data and maps of the character of the aquifer has been released by Phelps Dodge. A copy of the hefty 1,000 page (w/3 CD's) is available in the library Phelps Dodge special file cabinet. I also have a copy that I will be able to hand over to the committee as soon as I have copied some graphs and tables.

4) East Valley Water Forum Management Plan

with upcoming meeting in Tucson to share process for success
Management Plan:

The Forum, after 4 years of work, completed a regional water management plan. The geographic area is the East Salt River Valley (the Eastern portion of the Phoenix Metro area). East Valley water users are pumping about 400,000 af/year. On Friday, January 18, 2008 from 10:00 to 11:30 am at the U of A Water Resources Research Center will sponsor an information seminar in the Sol Resnick Conference, Room, 350 N. Campbell, Tucson, AZ. the Forum's Executive Director, Teresa Makinen and Doug Toy, one of its members, will share information about the planning process and the management plan's findings.

5) State Trust Land Department

David Jacobs (Assistant Attorney General from State Trust Land Dept.) and Michelle Muench (Manager of Tucson office of State Trust Land Dept.) Both showed up at a Planning and Zoning meeting in late November to speak against Green Valley-Sahuarita having a special status because of their water shortage. When a commissioner asked why they were there, Jacobs stated, because there is lots of state land to develop down in Green Valley . They need to be included in planning.

6) Bureau of Reclamation Water Appraisal Report:

Augmentation Alternatives for the Sierra Vista Sub-watershed, Arizona

Available from local Tucson office.
Federal Building
300 W. Congress – 1L

Report on process with C/D with Appendix analyzing including economic, regulatory considerations for each proposed project. The report will be helpful in providing a model for action Green Valley-Sahuarita area. For example, the legal process is outlined:

a) Create organizational structure (you have done that already!)

b) Investigate and develop financing strategies (Federal, State, local)

c) Develop repayment strategies

d) Determine facility ownership

e) Apportion operations and water costs

More important! — if Sierra Vista were to manage to procure CAP water, the two potential routes for that pipeline are mapped out. This information should be coordinated with any pipeline routes to the Green Valley region.

7) Other Useful Reports:

a) Regional Groundwater Flow Model of the Tucson Active Management Area, Available from ADWR

b) Groundwater Monitoring in the Tucson Copper Mining District: Report and Detailed Recommendations, Available from Pima Association of Governments


1) Tom Myers, mining hydrologist

Tom Myers produced the hydrological study for Pima County for Rosemont mine area for some $30,000—a pittance compared to the usual price tags on reports around here. He was able to use existing data to give an overall view of the potential weak spots. He could do the same for Green Valley/Sahuarita area using the Phelps Dodge report and available well data. Since there is at least three or four times as much data to analyze [Phelps Dodge report (2008), Task Mines Report (1983), and the well data base—showing hundreds of exempt well users in the region], the price tag could run up from $75,000 to $100,000 also. If there are to be any stromwater reservoirs, wetlands/riparian or other such projects, the appropriate area is very important. The Phelps Dodge report shows that there are layers of clay at relatively high elevations in the aquifer in relation to the bedrock—water does not soak down through clay.

2) Eric Holler, Bureau of Reclamation
Manager, Tucson Office
Federal Building
300 W. Congress – 1L

The Bureau is able to produce a study of the potential possibilities for recharge. They do have a huge data bank of stormwater recharge projects from around the world. There are three considerations:

1) Have to have an entity to contract with.

As in the case with any federal monies or earmarks, there has to be a contracting agent to sign a contract and assume responsibility for banking and managing the money. And there needs to be the entity to put up matching funds. The county could be the entity. In the October memo signed by Chuck Huckelberry, there were indications that they may be willing to do so.

2) Very expensive—an estimated to $1,000,000

It is possible for the Feds to put in half on matching funds basis.

3) Very slow—They are now setting up their 2010 schedule.

Although the example given above for the Sierra Vista Sub-watershed is a model for what kind of report to expect, they have several options that we do not have, which are very expensive projects such as pumping polluted mining water from Tombstone and/or Bisbee. These long pipelines would require millions only available for an Army Fort and a Federal Conservation area. However, we do have other assets—for example, there are some thousand acres that can be used for stormwater catchment and recharge facilities—the local golf courses.


1) Local Golf Course info:

1) ADWR report; Water use in region, including golf courses

2) Comparisons of allocations, use, etc.

3) U of A student study of storm water available on golf courses

2) CAP water info:

I have been following the CAP water situation, even attending CAP Board meetings in Casa Grande, where I found out that the Groundwater Replenishment District does not have enough water to cover the proposed replenishment obligations. They are scrambling for allocations—even groundwater (12%) is on their plan. Further, Sierra Vista is also looking for allocations. A recent Bureau of Reclamation “augmentation alternatives” report included a project of building a CAP pipeline to Sierra Vista , even though they have no CAP allocations at all.

So if any allocations were to come up…. Who do you think will be first in line to secure them? Groundwater Replenishment District, Sierra Vista or Green Valley ?

a) Excellent report on history of CAP in Arizona :

b) The water quality at San Xavier pumping station. In 2007 the sulfate level averaged 270 mg/ltr—20 mg/ltr higher than Phelps Dodge is mandated to furnish to the community, with four readings at 280 mg/ltr.

c) Report on shortage of CAP water.

d) Groundwater Replenishment District—how long will it have water to recharge? (Note last paragraph)

3. Stormwater Recharge Basins:

1) Chandler has successfully implemented stormwater recharge basins that serve as parks, soccer and football fields 95% of the time when it is not raining. So why not golf courses?


2) There are hundreds of examples, including the Pima County Kino facility, which is a stormwater catchment facility (no recharge because the ponds are lined). The water is pumped over to water turf at the ball park. They are also introducing various wildlife species.

4) Reservoirs:

It fascinated me when I heard that Wisconsin?where it rains lots ?had the best system of reservoirs—and Arizona hardly has any. Many residents have questioned me, “Why aren't there reservoirs on the side of the mountains, so the water would flow here by gravity instead of having to be pumped uphill from Pima Mine Road ?”

Wisconsin :

Colorado :

Texas :


5) Protecting water in public Federal lands:

There is National Forest near us that needs to be protected for watershed, wildlife and recreation. We need to insist that the Feds conserve water on the Federal land—there are precedents.

Here is a report that I sent to U.S. Congress on the subject:


6) Sand and gravel

Although the overall use of sand and gravel operations in the area are relatively small, they are known to waste water because of their evaporation methods. In the case of the facility near Pima Mine Road, since it is close to the CAP recharge station—principally paid for by Tucson Water users to store water—it has created a situation because the higher groundwater levels have interfered with the sand and gravel operations—so more evaporation and perhaps pumping of excess water has occurred. A link to a map of the facilities:,-110.949576&spn=0.013047,0.022659&z=16&om=1


A link to the second sand and gravel operation on Old Nogales Road near Quail Creek, including the Green Valley waste water plant.,-110.9632&spn=0.027177,0.045319&z=15&om=1


Well, That's All Folks!



Report sent to:

Dennis Skelton
Joe Taylor
Dick Walden
Larry Kempton
Arturo Gabaldon
Ken Taylor
Les Gunderson
Mark Seamans
Las Quintas Water Company
John Broderick
Ned Hall
Richard Ducote
Chad Fretz
Peggy Bonthron
Kathy Chavez
Chuck Huckelberry
All County Supervisors


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