Havasu officials support state Rep. Regina Cobb’s groundwater study bill

February 20, 2019

A new bill proposed by State Rep. Regina Cobb could provide valuable insight into Mohave County’s groundwater resources, and Lake Havasu City officials will support the measure through communication with Arizona legislators.

House Bill 2467 got its first hearing Tuesday in the House Committee on Natural Resources, Energy and Water. The bill would establish two committees to study groundwater reservoirs throughout Mohave and La Paz Counties. Members of the Mohave County West Basin Water Users Study Committee would represent groundwater users in the Hualapai Valley and Sacramento Valley basins, and make recommendations to the Arizona Department of Water Resources based on their respective findings.

The committee’s input would inform the Arizona Department of Water Resource’s report later this year to Gov. Doug Ducey, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives. That report will detail the rate of groundwater depletion in Northwestern basins, and would estimate the number of years of groundwater that remain in those basins. That report will be due on Dec. 31.

While Havasu is not as dependent on groundwater reservoirs as other regions of Mohave County, the issue has seen growing concern in Kingman.

“We’re continuing to reach out to legislators to show our support for the bill,” said Lake Havasu City Mayor Cal Sheehy. “This bill is focused on groundwater, which is paramount to the economic development of the region. In the overall scope of the county, this bill is extremely important.”

According to the bill, the Mohave Study Committee would consist of two people from agricultural interests; one Mohave County supervisor; one city council member or mayor of a city located in Mohave County; one person representing industrial water users in Mohave County; one member of the public who owns three or more Mohave County wells; and one member from both the Arizona House of Representatives and the state Senate who represent at least one of the basins. The committee’s two state legislators would serve as the committee’s co-chairs.

Kingman’s mayor and city attorney traveled to Kingman Tuesday to testify in favor of the bill. Kingman Mayor Jen Miles spoke on the bill’s importance in an interview with the Kingman Daily Miner on Monday.

“This group that will be created under the legislation can recommend policies and protocols to the Department of Water Resources and the Legislature regarding our groundwater,” Miles said. “We need to have a voice on programs and policies for our groundwater, and this would create it.”

La Paz County’s West Basin Water Users Study Committee would follow the same rules of membership as those in Mohave County’s committee, according to the legislation. The La Paz County Committee will be tasked with studying groundwater in the Renegras Plain Basin, the McMullen Valley Basin and the Butler Valley Basin.

Kingman Daily Miner reporter Travis Rains contributed to this story.