• Mark L. Johnson

Water Woes V-Tidal Wave

There has been a tidal wave of significant news in the Arizona water world. Here is the skinny.



ADWR Tells Pinal County No More Groundwater For Development

The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) recently informed the Pinal County Groundwater Task Force that applications for groundwater withdrawals will be denied and any new water demand must be met with physical renewable water sources, e.g. Central Arizona Project (CAP) Water, Recycled Wastewater, etc. See Arizona Republic Article (Joanna Allhands) and Casa Grande Dispatch Article (Aaron Dorman) for more.


This is very significant news! ADWR is finally doing its job. This decision apparently makes the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) a non-option as the water agencies/developers have to prove that a renewable water source physically exists. No more phantom water. You may recall that CAGRD replenishes aquifers on a promise that they will find and provide the water sometime down the road. Ironically, even though water users are required to prove a 100-year water supply, the majority of CAGRD's proposed supplies are short term (30-years or less). This decision will have a "ripple effect" across the state and should dramatically impact Marana.




Marana Study Session-Water


Jackie Craig (Marana Town Councilperson) has indicated in her recent Newsletter that a Study Session is tentatively planned for Tuesday, August 10 at 6:00 PM. Please put this on your calendar and attend. This is our chance to impress upon Marana that a comprehensive 50-year water supply plan is needed to ensure adequate water supplies for current and any future customers. TA will request Marana to allow the public to speak at this Study Session.


We also need to understand how Marana has approved 33,402 lots which obligates 4,806 acre-feet/year of water (equivalent to 16,022 lots) above Marana's approved Designated Assured Water Supply (DAWS). See graphic below.


ADWR's decision for Pinal County needs to transcend to Marana Water!






Oro Valley Podcast-Colorado River Studies

Mark Johnson recently was interviewed by Jim Horn for the Oro Valley Podcast. The subject was the Colorado River and the recent study by Utah State regarding drought impacts. Also discussed was the Colorado River Compact (1922) and the Law of the River. To listen to the podcast click on the button below.






Drought/Pumping Impacts


The recent monsoonal rains in the Tucson region have been a great relief. However, the extreme drought in the Colorado Basin still remains.


An Arizona Daily Star Article (Tony Davis) reports that ground fissures, likely related to excessive groundwater pumping, have caused damage to US Highway 191 and requiring closure. Ground subsidence is one of the major issues related to groundwater over-pumping. See photo taken in the Central Valley, CA showing a drop in ground surface elevation of 4.8 feet in 25 years. It is incredible that this is happening in Arizona 40 years after the enactment of the Groundwater Management Act. The recent action by ADWR in Pinal County is late but a start in the right direction.


A recent AP Article (James Anderson) reports that Colorado wildlife officials have requested anglers to voluntarily refrain from fishing in the Colorado River in a 120-mile stretch of the river due to low flows and high water temperature.