Is there enough water to support growth in Rimrock?
Water for 300-home development expected to come from private on-site wells, booster pumps, water tank storage
RIMROCK – With six wells that serve 1,291 connections, Arizona Water Company has plenty of water for its customers.
That’s according to John Snickers, division manager of Arizona Water’s Rimrock station.
Despite seasonal variations, Arizona Water Company doesn’t experience much change to the number of its service connections – meaning customer accounts – nor to the number of gallons used in a given month, Snickers said. The reason: Rimrock is “not a real transient area.”
Arizona Water’s Rimrock station serves customers in Munds Park, Rimrock, Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek. The company’s customers used about 5.58 million gallons of water in August, Snickers said.
Local developer Dugan McDonald confirmed Wednesday that Arizona Water would be the provider for a proposed shopping center at the southeast corner of E. Beaver Creek and N. Dave Wingfield roads.
McDonald plans to build a shopping center that would include a grocery store, gasoline island and various shops.
Copper Canyon Fire Chief Terry Keller said he “assume[s] the Arizona Water Company system has enough storage, wells, pumps to provide for the domestic [and] fire flows for this project.”
Water for a proposed 300-plus housing unit project off Bice Road and East Beaver Creek Road would “likely be [supplied by] private on-site wells, booster pumps and water tank storage,” according to a May 3 letter to Yavapai County Development Services from Larry Cepek of Constructive Solutions, the agent and project engineer for Rimrock Properties.
According to Keller, the housing project “[should] connect to the existing water system, Arizona Water Company, to … ensure that an adequate water supply is available.”
“However, if they are able to drill wells and provide storage to provide adequate domestic and fire flow, then we cannot oppose this based on the fire code,” Keller also said.
According to a report from Montezuma Rimrock Water Company Owner and President Patsy Olsen at a July 22 public gathering, Arizona Water Company “pumps about seven times the water than MRWC.”
The report, produced by Registered Geologist Robin G. Weesner, is dated March 10, 2010 and April 6, 2010.
Assured water supply
Yavapai County Development Services Director Dave Williams said that Arizona Department of Water Resources – ADWR – “drive[s] the boat when it comes to water.”
“After 20 years, I’m still learning about water,” Williams said.
To address the state’s limited groundwater supplies, Arizona Department of Water Resources created its Assured Water Supply and Adequate Water Supply programs to evaluate the availability of a 100-year water supply considering current and committed demand, as well as growth projections.
ADWR’s Assured Water Supply program operates within the state’s five Active Management Areas.
The Active Management Areas are located where “significant groundwater depletion has occurred historically,” according to the ADWR website. They include portions of Maricopa, Pinal, Pima, Santa Cruz and Yavapai counties.
The Adequate Water Supply program operates outside the Active Management Areas and according to the ADWR website “ensures that the water adequacy or inadequacy is disclosed in the public report provided to potential first purchasers and that any water supply limitations are described in promotional or advertising material.”
Arizona Department of Water Resources has “not received any recent applications for an adequate or inadequate water determination for the Beaver Creek community area,” according to Public Information Officer Shauna Evans.
Evans also said that there “are not any issued adequate or inadequate water determinations for subdivisions near the proposed developments at Bice Road nor Dave Wingfield Road.”
In a mandatory adequacy jurisdiction, adequacy of water supplies must be demonstrated prior to plat approval and issuance of a public report.
For more information about the Assured Water Supply and the Adequate Water Supply programs, visit new.azwater.gov.
To ‘secure an adequate water supply’
Montezuma Rimrock Water is seeking a permit to use lot 405-25-517 – Well #4 – to “secure an adequate water supply,” Olsen wrote in a June 24 letter to property owners within a 300-foot radius of the lot.
The well, located at 4645 E. Tiemann Lane, “provides MRWC the opportunity to take care of its main well that has not had any maintenance in the last 30 years,” Olsen wrote in the June 24 letter.
That application is on hold until November, Williams said.
“The county does not regulate water,” Williams said. “Our scope is very narrow. Our question is a pure zoning question.”
‘Substantial water level declines’
In an Aug. 8 letter to Williams, Dorothy FireCloud, superintendent of Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well and Tuzigoot national monuments, wrote that Yavapai County “has a responsibility to promote the public health and welfare of its citizens, and that part of this responsibility is the need to recognize potential issues between proposed land uses and potential impacts to water supplies and resources.”
The National Park Service “is concerned that [Montezuma Rimrock Well #4] will exacerbate the substantial water level declines that have already been observed at several wells in the area and will cause impacts to the nationally significant groundwater dependent resources” of Montezuma Well,” FireCloud wrote.
“FireCloud also wrote that “additional water level declines caused by the applicant’s well, in combination with existing wells, will impact the water resources of Montezuma Castle National Monument, including the unique geologic feature known as Montezuma Well and the water supply that provides water to staff and visitors.”
According to the Montezuma Rimrock’s 2010 report, Well #4 is located 5,264 feet from Montezuma Well.
The report also states that Arizona Water Company has a well located 4,969 feet from Montezuma Well.
Olsen has refused to answer telephone calls or email questions about how many customers Montezuma Rimrock serves, how much water her customers use in a given month, or questions connected with FireCloud’s letter to the county.