Arizona Water Initiative Northwest Basins Planning Area

The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) held a public hearing June 29th in Kingman at the Board of Supervisors Auditorium to receive public comments on the Northwest Basin Planning Area. The meeting was an opportunity for residents and local officials to talk with ADWR about the area’s water supply and to identify strategies to meet future water demands. It was noted that Mohave County has some of the largest groundwater aquifers in the State of Arizona and ensuring we have enough water for future generations and growth is crucial for future sustainability in our county.The Northwest Basin Planning Area is made up of four groundwater basins: Detrital Basin, Hualapai Valley, Meadview Basin, and the Sacramento Valley Basin. Governor Ducey’s Water Initiative for the State involved ADWR identifying and prioritizing 22 planning areas across the State. The Mohave County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jean Bishop sent a letter to Director Buschatzke in February asking for the Northwest Basin Planning Area be placed as a top priority behind Cochise and LaPaz Counties. (Director Buschatzke announced at the meeting that we were being considered equal in priority)The Northwest Basin is not within any Active Management Area (AMA) or Irrigation Non-Expansion Area (INA) that requires additional water management. Under Arizona State Statue, ADWR’s regulatory authority is limited if the Basin is not within one of these management areas. Therefore there are no reporting requirements in the Northwest Basins Planning Area outside of Community Water System reporting. ADWR explained the only limitation on groundwater use is that it must be put to beneficial use and be withdrawn from a legally constructed and registered well.During the hearing, ADWR stated their goal during this process was to develop a stakeholder driven set of solutions for future water demand and supply imbalances. They intend to complete the process within a one year timeframe. While an AMA or INA is not always possible, there are other options ADWR is looking at. Some may require legislative action and we are also looking into a middle ground without having to put the Northwest Basin into an AMA or INA.For anyone who could not attend the meeting in person, Mohave County had the video live streamed on our website and it can be viewed online at: Any questions regarding water resources or the Northwest Basin Planning area can be directed to Mr. John Riggins at ADWR at jrriggins@azwater.govAdditional stakeholder meetings and discussions will be scheduled by ADWR regarding the Northwest Basin Planning Area in the upcoming months.

Jean Bishop's photo.