KINGMAN – Groundwater supplies have long been a concern in northern Arizona. Now three counties are planning future groundwater protections, amid prolonged drought conditions and new restrictions on the state’s water supply from the Colorado River.
Mohave County officials are expected to work with Coconino and Yavapai County next year on a groundwater legislative proposal, which will be submitted to the County Supervisors Association of Arizona. If selected, this proposal would be included as one of the statewide organization’s top priorities for the 2023 legislative session.
The Mohave County Board of Supervisors may approve a resolution next Tuesday, which will be submitted to the Arizona Governor’s Office and the State Legislature to protect Arizona’s groundwater resources through legislation next year.
According to the draft resolution, Arizona lands managed under the federal Groundwater Management Act of 1980 are located in one of the fastest growing states in the country, making these supplies attractive groundwater for economic development.
Over 80% of the state’s geography lacks groundwater management, and companies have historically been reluctant to invest in areas without groundwater certainty.
The resolution says rural areas of the state have long been unable to plan for the future use or reliability of groundwater supplies because they are not managed or regulated under the Groundwater Management Act. . And in some areas, this lack of management has led to over-pumping of water, the decline of rural wells and the depletion of community water supplies.
For example, Mohave County has requested protections for the Hualapai groundwater basin, east of Kingman, for the past five years in response to US Geological Survey studies that indicate the basin – and with it much of Kingman’s fresh water supply – could be exhausted in less than a century.
The Arizona Department of Water Resources is expected to hold an open comment period on the topic of protecting Kingman’s water supply from possible agricultural irrigation later this year.
“Many rural areas depend mainly or completely on groundwater for drinking water and for economic development and growth,” the resolution states. “Many of Arizona’s rivers, streams and springs also depend on groundwater for part of their year-round flow. Both rural and non-rural counties benefit from statewide water resource protection.
According to the document, water security remains one of the “top three” areas of concern for Arizona residents, and 90% of Arizonans said there is an urgent need to conserve water. water in recent years.
The Mohave County Board of Supervisors is due to vote next Tuesday on whether to approve the resolution at the next board meeting in Kingman.