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Cultural Water Demand in the Safford Basin

Cultural water demand data including population, number of wells and the average well pumpage and surface water diversions by the municipal, industrial and agricultural sectors are shown in Table 3.10-8.  Effluent generation including facility ownership, location, population served and not served, volume treated, disposal method and treatment level is shown on Table 3.10-9.  Figure 3.10-11 shows the location of demand centers.  A description of cultural water demand data sources and methods is found in Volume 1, Appendix A.  More detailed information on cultural water demand is found in Section 3.0.7. For information on gpcd and annual water demand by individual community water systems in this basin see ADWR's Community Water System Program annual water use reporting summary.


Cultural Water Demand

  • Refer to Table 3.10-8 and Figure 3.10-11.

  • Population has increased by about 600 people a year on average from 1980 to 2000. 

  • Total groundwater use decreased from 1971 to 1990 and then increased again from 1991 to 2005.  An average of 124,500 AFA in the period from 2001-2005.

  • Surface water diversions increased from 1971 to 1985 and have decreased from 1986 to 2005, with 61,300 AFA diverted on average in the period from 1991 – 2005. All surface water diversions between 1991 and 2003 were for agriculture.

  • Approximately 98% of the total water demand in this basin is for agriculture.

  • Large tracks of agricultural lands are located along Highway 70 and the Gila River in the vicinity of Pima, Thatcher and Safford and in Cochise County south of Interstate 10.

  • Current municipal and industrial demand is comparable to historic use with 3,300 AFA of municipal water demand and 800 AFA of industrial water demand in the period from 2000-2005.

  • As of 2005 there were 2,698 registered wells with a pumping capacity of less than or equal to 35 gpm and 2,278 wells with a pumping capacity of more than 35 gpm.

Effluent Generation

  • Refer to Table 3.10-9.
  • There are 13 wastewater treatment facilities in the basin. 

  • Almost 29,000 people are served by these facilities.

  • More than 2,500 acre-feet of effluent per year are generated in this basin.

  • Three facilities discharge wastewater for irrigation.

  • Discharge from one facility, the Peridot Heights Wastewater Treatment Facility, recharges the aquifer through an unlined impoundment.  This facility is not permitted by the Department as an Underground Storage Facility.

  • One facility, the Safford Wastewater Treatment Facility, discharges water for golf course irrigation.

Click to view Table 3.10-8

Click to view Table 3.10-8 Cultural Water Demand for

the Safford Basin

Click to view Table 3.10-9

Click to view Table 3.10-9 Effluent Generation in the Safford Basin

Click to view Figure 3.10-11

Click to view Figure 3.10-11 Safford Basin

Cultural Water Demand



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Farming in Safford Lake on San Carlos Reservation