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Central Highlands Planning Area Water Resource Issues - Issue Surveys

A number of complex water resource issues exist in the Central Highlands Planning Area.  Issues have been identified in water resource studies, by community watershed groups, through the distribution of surveys, and from other sources.  Issues and planning, conservation and research activities are discussed in this section.

Issue Surveys

The Department conducted a rural water resources survey in 2003 to compile information for the public and help identify the needs of growing communities. This survey was also intended to gather information on drought impacts for incorporation into the Arizona Drought Preparedness Plan, adopted in 2004.  Questionnaires were sent to almost 600 water providers, jurisdictions, counties and tribes.  The Department completed a report of the findings from the survey in 2004 (ADWR, 2004).

Agua Fria River

Agua Fria River

There were 36 water provider and jurisdiction respondents in the Central Highlands Planning Area, and 24 numerically ranked issues. Respondents were asked to rank 18 issues.  Infrastructure issues, particularly inadequate capital to pay for infrastructure improvements, were ranked among the top five issues by many respondents.  Future water supply concerns and drought problems also ranked relatively high (Table 5.0-16). At the time of the survey, concerns about the utility’s ability to meet the new arsenic standard (with a compliance date of 2006) and lowering water tables near wells ranked relatively high as concerns; 33% and 25% respectively.

In a separate question, about half of respondents noted at least one drought impact.  Primary drought impacts noted were increased demand, increased peak demand and lowered groundwater levels.

Table 5.0-17 Water resource issues ranked by survey respondents in the Central Highlands Planning Area


The Department conducted another, more concise survey of water providers in 2004.  This was done to supplement the information gathered in the previous year in support of developing the Arizona Water Atlas, and to reach a wider audience by directly contacting each water provider. Through this effort, 74 water providers in the Central Highlands Planning Area, with a total of approximately 60,600 service connections, were willing to participate and provide information on water supply, demand and infrastructure and to rank a list of seven issues.

Water providers were asked to rank 7 issues from 0 to 3 with 0 = no concern, 1 = minor concern, 2 = moderate concern and 3 = major concern. Of the 74 water providers that responded to the survey, 66 ranked issues.  These respondents include some of the largest water providers in the planning area including the City of Globe, Payson Water Company, Big Park Water Company and City of Cottonwood.

Responses to the 2003 questionnaire are not directly comparable to the 2004 survey due to differences in the form and wording of the surveys. In addition, water quality and groundwater level conditions were not included as issues in the 2004 survey.  Nevertheless, responses to certain issues are similar as shown in Table 5.0-16.  The 2004 responses indicate that issues related to infrastructure, drought and inadequate supplies to meet future demands are the most prevalent concerns. The identification of drought related water supply problems was particularly the case for respondents in the Verde River Basin.



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References and Supplemental Reading for the Central Highlands Planning Area Overview

Colorado River Central Highlands Planning Area Download entire Central Highlands Planning Area Atlas in pdf Verde River Lake Pleasant