FLORENCE — Pinal County Supervisor Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, provided an update last week on the stakeholders group he chairs, which is studying water solutions for the Pinal Active Management Area.
The group has met more than a dozen times since December and has brought two proposals to the Legislature, which became House Bill 2880.
One of the bill’s provisions is that anyone holding a certificate of assured water supply can replat the development without going back through the entire approval process, as long as the new plat uses the same or less water.
Another change allows water providers to reduce the volume of groundwater in their designation and bring non-groundwater supplies into the designation. This would help a provider such as the city of Eloy, which is designated for 40,000 acre-feet.
The city doesn’t currently need that much but pays $200,000 per year to maintain that designation, Miller told the Board of Supervisors March 11. Eloy would like to lower that designation and lower its cost, with the option of bringing it back up in the future, Miller said.
The Arizona Department of Water Resources has worked with the Pinal County stakeholder group on the bill language to allow for these positive changes, Miller said.
Meanwhile, a half-dozen different subgroups representing specific interests such as agriculture, cities and towns, conservation, developers and homebuilders, community leaders and utilities are meeting on their own, Miller said. Beginning in April, these groups will share their perspectives and discuss their potential solutions.
An ADWR groundwater model for the Pinal AMA last year indicated existing groundwater supplies are more than 8 million acre-feet short of the need in the next 100 years.