Friday, May 29, 2009

More on the Prescott/Big Chino/Verde River controversy

The Prescott and Verde Valley papers are in the midst of running a series of articles on the battle over plans up in the Prescott AMA (in north-central Arizona) to pump groundwater from the Big Chino Aquifer and pipe it south to support the growing communities of Prescott and Prescott Valley. I've been posting intermittently on this controversy and some of the legal issues surrounding it in the past (i.e. here and here). I like to think of this situation as Arizona's mini version of the controversy in Nevada over pumping from aquifers in east-central Nevada to supply water for continued growth in Las Vegas. In both cases you have municipal interests seeking to take groundwater from rural areas to support continued growth where existing water supplies are already overstretched.

So far the first two articles in a four-part series have come out and can be found here and here. The first article is about the geologic history and hydrogeology of the area and the second is about the legal and political history of the controversy. As you might guess the reporter does a better job with the legal and political stuff than he does with the hydrogeology. I'll save my discussion on the articles until the series is complete - the best stuff is yet to come anyway.

Speaking of good stuff - the people who want to pump water from the Big Chino aquifer to compensate for excess pumping in their own aquifer have put up a website to present their side of the issues. It's the Big Chino Water Ranch Project (that is what Prescott and PV are calling the ranch properties they have purchased in Chino Valley, where they plan to pump the water and put it in a pipeline). It's a nice website, with lots of interesting information, although a bit one-sided. It doesn't clearly state who is responsible for the website, but presumably it's the cities, the developers, and the other money interests in the area. I don't know if the other side has a website up yet - most likely the opposition is covered on a variety of websites. If anyone knows of a site, drop me a line or leave a comment.

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