ADWR’S Review of Pinal Stakeholder Model Revisions
Sept. 6, 2022 - On June 28, 2021, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) presented an update of its modeling of groundwater conditions in the Pinal Active Management Area to a group of Pinal area stakeholders. The results of ADWR’s analysis showed that over a period of 100 years, 2016-2115, unmet demand for groundwater supplies in the region exceeded 8 million acre-feet.
In a statement to the group, ADWR Deputy Director Clint Chandler voiced the shared view of ADWR and the Pinal stakeholders – that all concerned parties desired clarity regarding the challenges confronting water users in the Pinal region.
Recalling the conclusions expressed by ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke, Deputy Director Chandler told the stakeholders that in view of the modeling results, “the days of utilizing native groundwater for development in Pinal are over, it’s done.” He added that ADWR will not approve new assured water supply applications seeking to utilize groundwater within the existing Pinal model domain.
At the same time, Director Buschatzke encouraged the Pinal Stakeholder Group leaders to carefully review ADWR’s groundwater modeling and to seek alternatives that may obviate its results.
Earlier this year, the Pinal Stakeholder Group presented the results of its own modeling analysis to ADWR.
That research, performed for the Pinal Stakeholder Group by Matrix New World Engineering, constituted a polished and professional, good-faith attempt to bridge the water supply gaps identified by ADWR in 2021. ADWR is grateful to the Pinal Stakeholder Group for its work.
Nevertheless, ADWR has requested that the Stakeholder Group review a number of elements of its modeling, including technical corrections that, until addressed, will not allow ADWR to determine whether any unmet demand remains.
Among the model elements ADWR has asked to be reviewed are matters involving depth-to-water exceedances; underestimating the demand of the City of Eloy; the movement of water among service areas, often miles away from each other; as well as other matters. ADWR has asked the Pinal Stakeholder Group to review several other key findings of the Stakeholder Model, including its conclusions about the manner in which irrigated agricultural land is urbanized.
Depth-to-water exceedances and continuing concerns about unmet demand in the Pinal AMA could affect future assured water supply applications. As a result, ADWR cannot move forward in processing applications based on the current Pinal Stakeholder Model submission.
Although the Pinal Stakeholder Model submission is a good-faith effort, it does not yet meet assured water supply requirements.
ADWR’s review of the Pinal Stakeholder Model Revisions can be found here.
Pinal County Groundwater Task Force Updates
On October 11, 2019, Representative Cook, chairman of the Arizona House Ad Hoc Committee on Groundwater Supply in Pinal County, proposed the creation of a local stakeholder group to examine potential solutions to the Assured Water Supply groundwater physical availability issue within Pinal County.
Since then, this stakeholder group has been deemed the Pinal Groundwater Task Force and is chaired by Pinal County Supervisor Stephen Miller and that Bill Garfield of Arizona Water Company and Jake Lenderking, Director of Water Resources at Global Water, serve as co-vice chairs. Additionally, in support of this effort, the Department will continue providing technical support and input when requested.
To support the effort being put forth by the Pinal Groundwater Stakeholder group, ADWR is providing this space on the Department's website as a clearinghouse for documents, statements and other materials the group produces. The Department neither endorses nor affirms positions or opinions expressed in those materials.
Draft Substantive Policy Statement And Comments
ADWR Pinal Groundwater Supply Updates
On November 1, ADWR held a public briefing and discussion on the results of its 2019 Pinal Model Run. Links to the results of that meeting, including presentations and an audio recording of the proceedings, can be found on this page.
Information on the Arizona House Ad Hoc Committee on Groundwater Supply in Pinal County, as well as information regarding meetings and presentations, can be found on the Department's Arizona House Ad Hoc Committee web page.
House Ad Hoc Committee
On September 18, 2019, Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers (R-25) announced the creation of the House Ad Hoc Committee on Groundwater Supply in Pinal County. The committee is designed to study the supply of available groundwater and renewable water supplies in the Pinal Active Management Area and to make recommendations on the modeling criteria of available groundwater supplies in the area.
Speaker Bowers named Representative David Cook (R-8) to chair the committee and appointed Representatives Noel Campbell (R-1), Gail Griffin (R-14), Bret Roberts (R-11), Rosanna Gabaldón (D-2), and Diego Rodriguez (D-27) to serve on the committee. In addition, the director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Tom Buschatzke, also serves on the committee.
Information on ADWR's 2019 Pinal Groundwater Model, as well as information regarding meetings and presentations, can be found on the Department's Pinal Groundwater Updates web page.