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Central Highlands Planning Area Cultural Water Demand - Industrial Demand

Cultural water demand in the Central Highlands Planning Area averaged approximately 83,200 AFA during the period from 2001 to 2005.  As shown in Figure 5.0-19, the agricultural demand sector was the largest use sector with approximately 37,500 acre-feet of demand, 45% of the total.  Municipal demand was the second largest water demand sector with about 33% of the total planning area demand or an annual average of 27,400 acre-feet during the period 2001-2005. Municipal demand is primarily met by groundwater. Industrial demand, mainly related to mining, accounted for 18,300 acre-feet, 22% of the total average demand during this period. 

Table 5.0-19 Cultural Water Demand by Sector in the Central Highlands Planning Area 2001-2005 (in acre-feet)

Click to view Figure 5.0-19

Table 5.0-15 Average Annual Industrial Demand

Table 5.0-15

Industrial demand in the planning area averaged almost 18,300 AFA during the period 2001-2005.  As summarized in Table 5.0-15, industrial demand consists of mining (including sand and gravel operations and cement production), golf course irrigation served by facility water systems and a dairy.  These same use categories that are served by a municipal water system are accounted for as municipal demand.  There was likely other industrial demand in the planning area associated with additional sand and gravel operations and other types of industrial uses that are not reflected in Table 5.0-15 due to a lack of data.

Most of the industrial demand during the 2001-2005 time period was copper mining-related operations in the Salt River Basin and surface water exported from the basin via the Black River to the Morenci Mine in the Southeastern Arizona Planning Area. Average mining demand during 2001-2005 was comparable to that during 1996-2000 although the proportion of surface water utilized declined.

Mining activity has, however declined from pre-1996 levels.  Water use by the mining sector varies depending on the quantity of material mined and how it is processed. Outside of the AMAs, water use by mines is generally not required to be disclosed. Mining has been an important industry in the planning area for many years with a number of mines commencing operation in the late 1800s and early 1990s. Historically significant mines no longer in operation include the Vulture Gold Mine near Wickenburg that was in production sporadically for about a hundred years beginning in 1864, and the United Verde Mine at Jerome/Clarkdale, which operated from 1876 to 1953.  The United Verde Mine was at one time the largest copper mine in Arizona, producing three million pounds of copper per month. A number of smaller mining operations were located around Crown King and north of Castle Hot Springs in the Agua Fria Basin.  While some existing mines have been out of production in recent years, mining may resume at some sites (e.g. Miami) if determined to be economically feasible.

Mining operations at the Miami Mine, currently owned by Freeport-McMoRan, began in 1910. Active mining has ceased and current (2009) activity involves smelter operations and a copper rod mill that produces continuous-cast copper rod used as the feedstock for the wire and cable industry.  A planned 2008 restart of the mine was postponed due to economic conditions and the mine continues to be held on a care and maintenance status. (Freeport-McMoRan, 2009)

The BHP Pinto Valley Division includes the Pinto Valley Mine and the Miami Unit.  The Pinto Valley Mine, an open-pit mine located northwest of Miami, began operation in 1974. Sulfide mining and milling operations ceased in 1998 although mining of a limited amount of waste rock continued.  Full copper mining operations resumed in 2007, however by 2009, mining operations had been suspended and operations returned to care and maintenance (Home, 2009).  The Miami Unit is a leach operation that recovers copper from the old Miami mine block cave area and leaching of the Miami No. 2 tailings pile (Phillips and others, 2000).  The Miami unit is currently on care and maintenance status, although the SXEW unit is processing leach solutions that continue to be cycled through the leachable materials (Mining Technology, 2009).

The Quadra Carlota Copper Mine, an open pit mine located about six miles west of Miami, reopened in 2008. It produced ore intermittently from 1929 to 1964 (Mindat, 2009).  The existing mine is a heap leach-solvent extraction-electrowinning (SXEW) operation that produces copper cathode. With an 11-year mine life, up to 75 million pounds per year of copper cathode may be produced (Quadra Mining LTD., 2009).  Anticipated water use at the mine is estimated at 650 AFA (M3 Engineering & Techology Corp., 2006).

Available data for the most recent year (2007) show an estimated groundwater demand by mines in the Salt River Basin of approximately 7,200 acre-feet: 6,460 acre-feet at the Freeport-McMoran Miami Mine; 20 acre-feet at the BHP Magma Miami Mine and 756 acre-feet at the BHP Pinto Valley Mine.  There was no reported surface water use in the Miami area from 2004-2007.  Annual water demand for 2001-2007 by each mine, as well as diversions from the Salt River Basin to the Morenci Mine are listed in Table 5.0-16.

Town of Miami

Town of Miami.  Mining operations at the Miami Mine began in 1910.  Available data for the most recent year (2007) show an estimated groundwater demand by mines in the Salt River Basin of approx. 7,200 acre-feet.


In addition to metal mining, sand and gravel and cement operations are included in the mining category.  During 2001-2005, an average of approximately 1,200 AFA of groundwater was used in the Verde River Basin by several sand and gravel operations and Phoenix Cement, a manufacturer of Portland Cement located near Clarkdale.  A cement plant has recently commenced operations near Drake, northwest of Paulden, that may use about 80 acre-feet of water per year (Wirt, 2005).

As shown in Table 5.0-13, ten of the seventeen known golf courses in the planning area are “industrial” courses located primarily in the Verde River Basin.  Industrial golf courses receive at least some water from facility wells and not from a municipal water provider.  During 2001-2005, an average of more than 3,300 AFA was used by industrial golf courses. Of this total, groundwater demand averaged about 2,200 AFA.  Three courses used a total of almost 800 acre-feet of surface water annually and two courses used a total of about 324 acre-feet of municipal effluent a year.

The Parker Dairy, located east of Congress in the Upper Hassayampa Basin, began operations in 1987.  It houses over 7,000 dairy cows and has an estimated annual groundwater demand of about 800 acre-feet.


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