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Old 04-21-2013, 04:52 AM
48 posts, read 31,681 times
Reputation: 39


Water sustainability

In the desert southwest, water sustainability is a major concern. According to a 2007 report by Pima County, 76,000 acre feet (94,000,000 m3) of water was pumped from the aquifer in the Upper Santa Cruz Valley in 2006, with 85 percent of that water being used for mining and agriculture. The remaining 15 percent was split between water used for golf courses and residential/commercial water use. The report explains that "The Green Valley area does not have a sustainable water supply given current groundwater pumping rates... the water table in Green Valley has been declining in past years, and is expected to decline even faster as water demands [continue to increase]...". The report concludes that "Water supplies will become critical within the next ten years." [4]

The Upper Santa Cruz Valley has several major water users, all pumping water out of the same aquifer. Most area water users are for-profit companies. ASARCO-Mission Mine, Freeport-McMoRan Sierrita Mine and Farmers Investment Co. (farming) are industrial scale water users. Residential water is provided by Farmers Water Company, Sahuarita Water Company, Las Quintas Serenas Water Company, Quail Creek Water Company, Community Water Company of Green Valley (a nonprofit member owned cooperative), and the Green Valley Water District (a governmental water utility). The proliferation of water companies can be partially explained by the fact that Arizona water law places few limits on the amount of water that can be pumped with costs limited only to drilling, pumping, distribution, etc. Since 2007 the Upper Santa Cruz Providers and Users Group (USCPUG) has been working to bring all local water entities, including the Town of Sahuarita, to the same table. Most of the water users and utilities are now members of USCPUG. The organization has published an analysis and projection of area water use through 2030. It has joined with the U S Bureau of Reclamation to lay the groundwork for transportation and use of Colorado River water from the Central Arizona Project canal to greatly reduce reliance on pumping groundwater. If a system is successfully completed, the excess pumping will be largely or fully eliminated. The process through design and construction is expected to take several years with funding being the major challenge
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:49 AM
2,672 posts, read 2,279,153 times
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The trouble with the big water users like farms and the mines is that they will use the water right till there is no more. That being said 76,000 acre feet of water isnt a lot. If they do run out of water then a pipeline will be built to Tucson. There is enough people there to spread the cost out. If you want to look at a desert town that is running out of water check out Borrego Springs, California where the mesquite trees have died off, a golf course has closed, orchards are being taken out and property values have declined and might not come back up.
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:06 PM
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,872 posts, read 13,495,349 times
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I think the OP answered his own question.

My personal resource on these issues is Dr. Robert Glennon. As Regents' Professor and Morris K. Udall Professor of Law & Public Policy at the University of Arizona, he has made water usage policy his primary interest in recent years and is an internationally known expert in the climate study community. We are lucky to have him in Tucson. Anyone who ever has an opportunity to attend one of his lectures should take it. If for no other reason than to see the photos of Rillito filled with water all year as late as the 1930s. It didn't disappear on its own. It was pumped away and used up mainly by agricultural interests. Here in Tucson, corporate interests don't "drink our milkshake," they drink our water.

Robert Glennon
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:25 PM
5,353 posts, read 5,569,142 times
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I really don't see water as a determining factor.

Having visited Green Valley for over 30 years - it is a great destination for the 55+.

Make sure to look into Green Valley Rec. Many homes have this deeded. Some don't.
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:19 PM
Location: Tucson
444 posts, read 566,387 times
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This is an interesting thread. I have been wondering about this water thing ever since my interest in Tucson began. It is the one thing that makes me wonder if living there is a good idea. As much as I love the place, this does give me pause.
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Old 04-29-2013, 02:23 PM
Location: CHicago, United States
6,936 posts, read 7,237,066 times
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I've been seriously considering buying in Green Valley and moving when I retire. In addition to the water issue, and maybe more seriously ... I've been thinking long and hard about what negative effects there might be from all of the mining in the area. Pollution of the water supply. Particulate/air pollution. Etc. The deeded recreation buy-in requirement seems to be a sore point with some buyers/potential buyers.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:27 PM
Location: Arizona
460 posts, read 1,056,317 times
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Regarding the water issue...this article was in the paper yesterday:
Will Tucson choose pipeline to take water to Rosemont Mine or Sahuarita pecan groves?
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:20 AM
Location: CHicago, United States
6,936 posts, read 7,237,066 times
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Thanks, jksn75, for posting the link to the article which does a good job explaining a large part of the water supply challenges ahead. One of the comments made in the article, about development on pecan grove lands, caught my eye. I'm wondering what "development" is contemplated. The market doesn't and probably will nit support large scale residential development, nor retail. And, unless someone's been quietly planning a big move to Tucson, commercial/industrial development seems out of the picture for some time. Food for thought, though. Thanks.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:42 AM
Location: Arizona
460 posts, read 1,056,317 times
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You are welcome. There is a 50 year plan to eventually turn the pecan groves into a housing area. This link explains the "vision"
The Vision for the Sahuarita Farms Land/River Master Plan Planning for the future of Sahuarita Farms and the Santa Cruz River.
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Old 06-18-2014, 10:17 PM
Location: Southwest
142 posts, read 173,531 times
Reputation: 219
Talking Community Water

We wondered this a few months ago and went ahead and called the director of the water company. He was very informative and gave no indication that Green Valley would run out of water until about 400 years from now so its probably not going to be an issue unless you plan on outliving the odds.
I can't remember everything he said but it was all positive.
As far as Green Valley Recreation...the fee is $440 per year. What you get for that is a very good value. I don't work for them so my figures might be off but what I understan is that with 12 state of the art centers, a pool at nearly every one of them, fitness gyms, hobby shops, classes, lectrues, concerts, movies you can't buy all of that for less than $440. You can go swimming every day of the year or use the gym or take an educational tour with them (for a small fee) and so many activities. Many of them would be walking distance from your home since the centers are all over town. If you join a gym it is pretty much almost that much money and all you get is one gym.
People over 55 will definitely live longer if they just keep moving. These centers will help you do that.
GVRR and Green Valley were one of the first retirement communities in the USA. Most other retirment communities were designed after this concept. Companies have copied them and their setup for many years. There is a new director of GVRR and he is very excited about making some major changes. Already some of the centers have been undergoing remodeling and updates to the pools and gyms. 49 years ago the retired people did not have all the joint replacements, supplements, medical knowledge and medical care available today. Today's "active adults" are using the tennis courts and pools and other facilities at GVRR more often than the past. It's $37 a month and I think its a good value.
I have no idea how the mines affect the environment. Good question.
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