Sat, March 28

Prescott AMA seeks support <br>for importing water

Residents from Skull Valley and the Dewey-Humboldt area attended a Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday, concerned about reports that the Prescott Active Management Area might be looking to their neck of the woods for more water.

The Prescott Active Management Area’s (AMA) Groundwater Users Advisory Council is seeking an expansion of the current law that allows the Prescott AMA to import water from the Big Chino aquifer just north of the AMA.

The council would like to have the option to import water from other basins, too. The council made the request to a new governor’s water committee that is currently reviewing the state’s 20-year-old Groundwater Management Act.

Prescott Valley Public Works Director Larry Tarkowski, co-chair of the county Water Advisory Committee (WAC), sought support for the request from WAC members during its monthly meeting Wednesday. Tarkowski also serves on a technical advisory committee to the governor’s committee.

Verde officials serving on WAC have expressed concerns about the Prescott AMA importing water from the Big Chino, since that is a major source of water for the Verde River.

“If the impact at once place can be diluted to other basins, that would be a good thing for all concerned,” Tarkowski said.

WAC Co-Chair Tony Gioia, a Camp Verde Town Council member, asked Tarkowski if the Prescott AMA would relinquish its right to Big Chino aquifer water if WAC supported importing water from other aquifers.

Tarkowski said he couldn’t answer that. The City of Prescott is the only entity with a right to Big Chino water, under state law.

WAC didn’t vote on the idea Wednesday, but it heard from the Skull Valley and Dewey-Humboldt residents.

Tarkowski specifically named the Bill Williams and Hassayampa river basins as possible importation areas. But he added that the change in state law would be necessary before the Prescott AMA would spend any money to study how much water is available in those basins.

“Right now, there’s only one game in town,” the Big Chino, Tarkowski said.

“That’s the way we like it,” responded Jim Combs of Skull Valley.

The Dewey and Humboldt communities are within the Prescott AMA, so they wouldn’t be affected by importation plans, Tarkowski said.

The goal is to avoid negatively impacting the Verde River’s flow, Yavapai County Supervisor John Olsen said.

Sedona City Council Member Anita MacFarlane said that while the Verde Valley doesn’t want to see Verde River flows drop, she doesn’t want to see other river basins negatively affected by the Prescott AMA, either.

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