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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news May 22, 2015

7/30/2013 6:00:00 AM
New plan to end groundwater depletion is out Wednesday at advisory meeting
Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - The Arizona Department of Water Resources will unveil its draft new management plan for the Prescott Active Management Area on Wednesday.

The agency will give a presentation about the new draft plan to the Prescott AMA's Groundwater Users Advisory Council at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Prescott Valley Town Council chambers in the PV Library, 7401 E. Civic Circle. The meeting is open to the public.

The draft should be available Wednesday on the agency's Prescott AMA web page. Go online to, click on "management/planning" at the top, then click on AMAs.

The public will have 45 days to comment on the draft, said Jeff Tannler, area director for the statewide active management areas. Send an email to, or send him a letter at 3550 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Ariz. 85012. People also can ask for hard copies of the draft.

The new 4th Management Plan is supposed to cover the years 2010 to 2019, but the agency is behind because of staffing cuts over the past several years.

Agency officials now hope to complete the new plan by the end of this year.

The Prescott AMA has not been making progress on the state-mandated goal to stop depleting its groundwater supplies by 2025, what water wonks call "safe yield." The Prescott AMA registered groundwater overdrafts during eight of the 11 years between 2000 and 2010. The AMA covers 485 square miles and includes Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley.

The previous three management plans have steadily increased water conservation requirements, but the new plan must take a new look at what else the region must do to reach safe yield by 2025, a state official said at a meeting about the new plan last September. That includes evaluating what new laws and policies might help.

Groups that formally commented on the plan's progress during the September meeting called for a more aggressive plan to reach safe yield.

Several people also said the development of large-scale rainwater harvesting facilities will be key to any successful effort to reach safe yield locally.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Let's all hope against hope.

That Prescott's Mayor Kuykendahl, the Blair, Scamardo and the rest of this 'growth at ANY cost', environmentally bereft city council will at least read and listen to this carefully studied ADWR plan. And for once in their political lives care just a little about the people who live here, and the future of this town. Pray it happens.

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

The best way to stop ground water depletion, is to stop using so much.

The only way to stop using so much is to stop promoting growth.


Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Three Blind Mice

Regardless of the facts, PV, Chino, and Prescott will continue with their usual response to reaching safe yield. Pretend to care about conservation while promoting more growth. Without serious consequences such as stiff monetary penalties they will never comply or admit there is a problem.

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Old Timer

when will someone look into how much water is pump by all the homes that have their own wells. Look at the growth of the area and the number of well that are not metered and that my answer the question about where thw water is

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: S M

How will collecting rain water from roofs contribute to safe yield? Doing so just reduces the amount of water from the groundwater, by collecting it before it gets there. It does not contribute to the available water supply. We cannot create water, we must live within our means, preserve what we have. Stop all new home construction now.

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

There are no penalties for NOT reaching safe yield in 2025. As for measuring "progress" to safe yield, how will that be done? Test wells? We were told in 2000 the overdraft was around 11,000 acre feet of water then. now with most years below normal and an additional 4-5,000 homes in the PAMA it must be over13,000 ac/ft per year. To grow the economy without further damage to our aquifer our elected officials must alter the taxing structure on capital assets of industry so we can bring in sustainable jobs to rural Arizona. These positions will allow those unemployed much of the time to acquire full time work which in turn will provide a larger tax base for our schools and public services such as police and fire. Since these jobs will NOT absorb vast amounts of water, it will be a win - win for our communities. Only the rancher - developers who pine to return to developing the water costly large subdivisions will be unhappy. For them it should be the opportunity to create industrial parks and further rural Arizona progress. We will not improve education and retention of our young people if we don't change our ways.

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Glenn J. Gooding

The 2025 "Safe Yield" will never happen as long as water is being drawn out of the aquifer. Why not do some simple thing like dredging out Sullivan lake selling the dirt to developers, farmers, etc. This would give a ready resavoir of water a recreation area generate tax revenue provide an attraction to the area and get Salt River off your back.

A river once ran through the area as can be seen in Sharlot Hall photos. There are nothing but pluses to do this and can be done in several other areas. Until we do something like this, "Safe Yield" is nothing more than a slogan for politicians.

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