Arizona on Rural Water Issues- *Built it And Worry about it Later*Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Arizona on Rural Water Issues- *Built it And Worry about it Later*

22 October 2006 at 11:23:05 AM

Because we here in Texas are already in the middle of a looming water crisis (in fact, Wise County and Parker County say their wells are going dry due to gas wells), we have to look at how we are going to equitably solve water issues before they get to the point where it is too late. Interesting article from Arizona in which the issue is not being caused by gas wells, but by overbuilding housing.

For many of us in rural Arizona, the actions we need to take to protect our water resources, or to come up with outside the box solutions, are stymied by lawmakers who have mostly those big city interests at heart. This is why the Arizona Department of Water Resources director is going on a statewide speaking tour to discuss rural water resource proposals. The input ADWR Director Herb Guenther receives will be forwarded to the Statewide Water Advisory Group. The SWAG has 50 members who have been charged by Gov. Janet Napolitano to look at the state’s water issues and come up with solutions.

Such a good idea!

Among the points of discussion will be if cities, towns and counties need the authority to approve or nix developments based on available water supply, if a water development fund should be established, if a pilot rural water supply development and management district should be established and what oversight should ADWR have on water issues.

The Sierra Vista area has long been at the forefront of Arizona’s rural cities when it comes to wise water use. What the SWAG hopes to accomplish is to come up with some ideas that will find traction in the 2007 legislative session and result in laws being passed to allow for pilot districts to facilitate solving some of the thornier water issues that are not addressed by state law.

If implemented, a pilot district could be authorized to manage the water supplies within a district. It could work with ADWR by gathering data and filing annual reports concerning groundwater permits and withdrawal standards, fees for such. It could collect other hydrologic data which could benefit other communities. It also could enter into intergovernmental agreements to benefit an area. All actions taken would be in an open, public process.

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