On August 12, 2015, the Director issued findings and a decision that the San Simon Valley Sub-basin of the Safford Basin shall not be designated as an irrigation non-expansion area. The Director’s Findings, Decision, and Order. A notice of the Director’s findings and decision was published in both the Arizona Range News and Eastern Arizona Courier on August 19, 2015, and August 26, 2015.
The Department will provide written notice of the date that the Director’s decision becomes final to all persons who attended the May 16, 2015 public hearing, to all persons who submitted written comments on the proposed INA in the San Simon Valley Sub-basin, and to all landowners within the San Simon Valley Sub-basin of county record. In addition, the Department will post notice of the date that the Director’s decision becomes final on the Department’s website for at least sixty days after the decision becomes final.
Copies of the Directors Findings, Decision and Order will be made available upon request to the following:
Michelle Moreno, Public Information Officer
Email: [email protected]
Sharon Scantlebury, Docket Supervisor
Email: [email protected]
The Arizona Department of Water Resources received a petition for the Initiation of Procedures to Designate an Irrigation Non-Expansion Area (INA) for the San Simon Valley Sub-basin. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 45-432, the Director can designate a Subsequent INA if specific criteria have been met. Frequently asked questions and answers regarding INAs. A PDF version is available.
The Department evaluated the petition to designate an INA in the San Simon Valley Sub-Basin and determined that the petition is signed by at least one-fourth of the irrigation users of groundwater within the groundwater sub-basin. Description of the Department’s process for making this determination. Because the petition meets the signature requirements of Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 45-433(A)(1), the Department published a Notice of Initiation of Designation Procedures and a Notice of Public Hearing in both the Willcox Range News and Eastern Arizona Courier newspapers on March 18, 2015, and March 25, 2015. Here is a copy of that notice.
On the date of the first publication of the Department’s notice, March 18, 2015, a temporary prohibition on the irrigation of new acres within the proposed INA became effective. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 45-434, effective March 18, 2015, only those lands irrigated in the five years preceding that date may be irrigated. “Irrigate” means to apply water to two or more acres of land to produce plants or parts of plants for sale or human consumption, or for use as feed for livestock, range livestock, or poultry. A.R.S. § 45-402. (Note that the new application of water to gardens, orchards or vineyards less than two acres in size is not prohibited, provided that groups of such fields are not managed as a single farming unit.) This temporary prohibition remains in effect until the Director of the Department makes a final determination on the proposed INA.
A public hearing concerning whether to designate an INA within the San Simon Valley Sub-basin was held at the Bowie High School in Bowie, Arizona, on Saturday, May 16, 2015. A transcript from that hearing is available.
To obtain a copy of the certified transcript please contact:
UNITED COURT REPORTERS, INC.
Court Reporting Service
P.O. Box 17507 Tucson, Arizona 85731
(520) 792-2600 or (800) 759-9075
Uncertified copy of the transcript.
At the hearing of May 16, 2015, the Department announced that it will keep the hearing period open until June 5, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. for the submission of written comments and evidence. The Department further extended the comment period until July 17, 2015, so that the Department may present and the public may provide comment on: (1) finalized water level data for the San Simon Valley sub-basin and (2) a numerical groundwater model for the San Simon Valley sub-basin. View comments received during the open comment period (as of July 23, 2015).
Within 30 days after the close of the public hearing period, the Director of the Department will issue findings regarding the matters considered during the hearing. If the Director decides to designate an INA, he will issue an order of designation. If the Director designates an INA, the prohibition on irrigation of new acres within the San Simon Valley Sub-basin (with certain limited exceptions) would remain in effect permanently. If the Director decides not to designate an INA, the prohibition on the irrigation of new acres within the sub-basin will be lifted.
Petition and Supporting Documentation