< Full site
Commission recommends water law changes to ensure long-term supplies
8/18/2012 9:56:00 PM
By Joanna Dodder Nellans
A new draft report from the Arizona Water Resources Development Commission recommends making it easier for local governments to require new subdivisions to have long-term water supplies.
A 5-year-old state law (Senate Bill 1575 from 2007) allows counties and municipalities to require all new subdivisions to prove to the Arizona Department of Water Resources that they have adequate 100-year water supplies. However, the law forces counties to get unanimous Board of Supervisor approval to enact the new requirement.
Currently only subdivisions inside active management areas, including the Prescott area, must show 100-year water supplies under state law.
The state commission is recommending removal of the unanimous Board of Supervisors vote requirement to require only a simple majority.
The commission hopes to produce a final report on Sept. 7 before its authority to exist expires at the end of September, Cottonwood Natural Resources Director Tom Whitmer told the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee Wednesday.
The commission's draft recommends allowing local governments to create regional water augmentation authorities that would help augment local water supplies and infrastructure by pooling their money into water supply development revolving funds.
The authorities could raise money through revenue bonds, user fees, membership fees, loans, grants and donations, but the authorities wouldn't have the power to tax or issue general obligation bonds.
The draft report would require all subdivisions to prove they have 100-year water supplies if they want to benefit from proposed water supply funds.
Yavapai County Supervisor Carol Springer explained at Wednesday's Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee meeting why she has consistently opposed putting all the county's new subdivisions under the 100-year adequate water supply rule, thus preventing a unanimous vote.
"Basically, in my view we give up our rights," Springer said, and transfer them to the Arizona Department of Water Resources. And more populous urban areas have more control over the state agency, she added.
Springer is not running for re-election this year, and next year the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors will change from three to five members.
Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, wrote to the Arizona Water Resources Development Commission to urge it to identify methods of financing new local water supplies.
The report recommended that the state raise money for a statewide loan fund for local authorities. It listed three examples of ways to come up with money for the statewide fund: state general fund money, a sales tax or a bottled water tax.
A commission subcommittee has identified at least 34 proposed water supply expansion projects across the state that would cost a combined $3 billion over the next 50 years.
They include the ongoing U.S. Bureau of Reclamation study in Yavapai County to identify future water needs and supplies, called the Central Yavapai Highlands Water Resource Management Study.
Neighborhoods in the path of the fire mostly empty
Evacuees continue to report in at Red Cross relief shelter
Fast-moving wildfire churns over Granite Mountain, threatens Williamson Valley homes near Prescott
Power of fire draws curious crowds
Truck delivery restrictions proposed to improve downtown traffic safety
Motorist goes airborne, bicyclist hits car in separate accidents off Lakeshore Drive
Court rules against DeMocker attorneys; trial to go forward
The Prescott Daily Courier Home
< Full site
Copyright Â© 2013 The Daily Courier / www.dCourier.com
, All Rights Reserved