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Western Plateau Planning Area Water Resource Issues - Watershed Groups and Issue Surveys

Watershed Groups

Several watershed groups affiliated with the Department’s Rural Watershed Initiative Program have formed to address water resource issues.  The two active groups, the Coconino Plateau Water Advisory Council and the Northern Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, include not only part of the Western Plateau but also part of the Eastern Plateau and Central Highlands planning areas.  A watershed group previously existed in the Fredonia area, (the Arizona Strip Partnership), but is no longer active. A list of participants, activities and issues for all watershed groups in the planning area is found in Appendix D

Primary issues identified by the Arizona Rural Watershed Initiative groups that pertain to the planning area are summarized as follows:

Colorado River from above

Grand Canyon from above.  


  • Unregulated lot splits
  • Significant projected growth
  • Water Supplies and Demand:
  • Limited and deep groundwater supplies
  • Access to water development on public lands
  • Limited groundwater data
  • Limited supplies to meet current and projected demands
  • Numerous water haulers with few hauling stations that are sometimes cut-off during drought
  • Brackish groundwater (Arizona Strip)
  • Interstate stream issues (Arizona Strip)
  • Inadequate surface water supplies for agriculture (Arizona Strip)


  • Unresolved Indian water rights claims


  • Limited funding resources for planning, projects, infrastructure and studies
  • High cost of water augmentation projects
  • Costs associated with hauling water
  • Infrastructure needs for private water companies


  • Drought sensitive surface water supplies


  • Potential for groundwater development to impact springs in Grand Canyon and Havasupai and Hualapai Indian Reservation water supplies


  • Unsafe dams (Williams and Fredonia)

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 to incorporate into the Arizona Drought Preparedness Plan, adopted in 2004.  Questionnaires were sent to almost 600 water providers, jurisdictions, counties and tribes, and a report of the findings from the survey was subsequently completed (ADWR, 2004).


Moccasin, Kanab Plateau Basin. 

Only one water provider in the planning area responded to the 2003 survey. 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, ten water providers in the Western Plateau Planning Area, with a total of approximately 2,400 service connections, participated and provided information on water supply, demand, and infrastructure and ranked a list of seven issues.  There were five respondents from the Virgin River Basin, three from the Kanab Plateau Basin and two from the Coconino Plateau Basin.

Water providers were asked in the 2004 survey to rank seven issues from 0 to 3 with 0 = no concern, 1 = minor concern, 2 = moderate concern and 3 = major concern.  All water providers responded, but two reported no concerns.  Results are summarized in Table 6.0-16 for the eight providers that ranked issues of concern.  The most highly ranked issue, inadequate capital for infrastructure improvements, was identified primarily by respondents located in the Virgin River Basin.  Inadequate storage was primarily an issue in the Kanab Plateau Basin.

Table 6.0-16 Water resource issues ranked by survey respondents in the Western Plateau Planning Area

Table 6.0-16


Arizona Water Atlas Home Western Plateau Planning Area Home Download pdf of the entire Western Plateau Planning Area Atlas Download pdf of the Western Plateau Planning Area Overview References for the Western Plateau Planning Area Overview
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