Mon, Jan. 27

County water group to hash out McCain bill

The Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee will talk Wednesday about U.S. Sen. John McCain’s latest draft work on the Yavapai Ranch land exchange.

The controversial draft recommends creating a Verde River Basin Partnership representing more organizations than the county Water Advisory Committee.

The committee also will talk about three statewide water documents that could impact its residents.

The draft Arizona Drought Preparedness Plan and the draft Statewide Water Conservation Strategy are the product of the Governor’s Drought Task Force. The Arizona Policy Forum produced the Arizona Water Policy Revisited proposal for the state to consider.

The county water committee also will talk about its own ongoing work on a water management strategy for the upper Verde River Basin.

The county committee meeting starts at 2 p.m. at the Cottonwood Public Safety Building at 199 S. Sixth St. It is open to the public.

The county committee has members representing each municipality, each county supervisor district, two Indian tribes and the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

The Verde River Basin Partnership would include 25 members from the federal and state governments, a local citizen-based group, the cities of Flagstaff and Williams, and the Salt River Project, among others.

The draft legislation states that the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture could not transfer the Camp Verde parcel in the Verde Valley to the Yavapai Ranch owners until a Verde Valley water budget is complete and the partnership makes a recommendation about “proposals for development scenarios that are compatible with sustainable water supply estimates.”

McCain and Sen. Jon Kyl will work on a revised bill and then seek public comment on it, McCain’s staff said.

The Arizona Drought Preparedness Plan and Statewide Water Conservation Strategy are components of the Arizona Drought Preparedness Plan.

The draft Preparedness Plan lists a variety of options, including requiring water suppliers to produce drought contingency plans, and expanding rules that require developers to have 100-year water supplies for rural parts of the state.

The Conservation Strategy identifies benchmarks for efficient water use by water providers and households.

The Arizona Policy Forum report offers three policy goals, including the expansion of long-term water supply rules to rural areas and residential wells. It also recommends a $500 impact fee on all new homes, with the money going toward grants for water resources planning and infrastructure.

The Policy Forum’s advisory committee members include Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee Coordinator John Munderloh and Prescott Valley Interim Town Manager Larry Tarkowski.

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