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Western Plateau Planning Area Cultural Water Demand - Industrial Demand

Figure 6.0-18 Average Annual Western Plateau Planning Area Cultural Water Demand by Sector, 2001-2005 (in acre-feet)

Figure 6.0-18

Total cultural water demand in the Western Plateau Planning Area averaged approximately 9,600 AFA during the period 2001-2005.   As shown in Figure 6.0-18, the agricultural demand sector was the largest use sector with approximately 4,600 AFA of demand, 48% of the total.  With the exception of small pastures, agricultural demand occurs only in the Kanab Plateau and Virgin River basins.  Approximately 57% of agricultural demand was met by groundwater during 2001-2005. Municipal demand represented about 42% of the total planning area demand with an average of approximately 4,000 AFA during the period 2001-2005. Municipal demand was primarily met by groundwater and the municipal sector was the only sector that utilizes effluent.  Industrial demand, primarily related to golf course irrigation, accounted for more than 900 AFA, 10% of the total demand during this period.  Tribal water demand is included in these totals.

Industrial Demand

Industrial demand in the planning area was relatively low, averaging about 950 AFA during the period 2001-2005.  As summarized in Table 6.0-14, quantified industrial demand in the planning area consists of golf courses served by facility water systems and a small dairy.  There are two industrial golf courses in the Virgin River Basin.  The Meadowayne Dairy, located on the north side of Colorado City in the Kanab Plateau Basin is estimated to have an annual demand of about 30 acre-feet.

Table 6.0-14 Industrial demand in the Western Plateau Planning Area

Table 6.0-14

Golf course demand is listed in Table 6.0-15.  Hamilton Ranch Golf Course is located in the community of Beaver Dam.  Flooding in 2006 washed out all but 8 holes.  Irrigation of the existing course uses about 220 AFA of groundwater and surface water diverted from Beaver Dam Wash.  The other industrial golf course, The Palms, located in Scenic adjacent to the Nevada state line, is an 18-hole course that uses about 440 AFA of groundwater.  The only other golf course in the planning area is Elephant Rock, a municipally-served golf course at Williams with an annual demand of about 150 acre-feet of effluent.

Table 6.0-15 Golf course demand in the Western Plateau Planning Area (c 2006)

Table 6.0-15

There is additional industrial demand in the planning area not reflected in Table 6.0-14, primarily sand and gravel operations in the Virgin River Basin and elsewhere.  Some of the operations are identified on the cultural demand maps.  Water is used for aggregate washing, dust control, vehicle washing and equipment cooling. Typically, relatively little water is consumed at these sites.

The three mines shown on the Kanab Plateau Basin cultural demand map (Figure 6.3-11) are currently (2009) inactive uranium mines owned by Denison Mines that have received aquifer protection permits from ADEQ.  The Arizona One Mine, about 35 miles south of Fredonia received its final permit in 2009, allowing mining to resume.  The two other mines, Canyon and Pinenut, require additional permits before work can commence. (McKinnon, 2009)  A number of mining companies are currently exploring the Arizona Strip and claiming breccia pipes for uranium mining.  The highest grade uranium deposits in the United States occur in breccia-pipe environments in northwest Arizona.4  It is anticipated that if developed, these mining operations would involve minimal water use.  Water is used primarily in ore processing, which would occur elsewhere.  The minor amount of water needed for mining on site would come from stormwater collection and/or shallow groundwater encountered in perched aquifers on site (Nyals Neimuth, ADMMR, personal communication, 6/07).

There are concerns about uranium mining near the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River due to potential impacts to air and water quality (McKinnon, 2009).  In July, 2009 Interior Secretary Salazar enacted a two-year moratorium on new mining claims on almost 1 million acres of federal lands north of the Grand Canyon. The moratorium was imposed to further study the risks associated with mining and evaluate whether to withdraw the lands from new mining claims for an additional 20 years (USDOI, 2009).


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