It is along the wide, flat desert stretches of the McMullen Valley and the Ranegras Plain west of Phoenix that some of the state’s biggest land-use changes – and most hotly debated water-related controversies – are playing out.
But it is what is happening below the scorching desert’s surface that really matters out here in the sparsely populated “West Basins” region of west-central Arizona.
This is not redundant. Planners at the Arizona Department of Water Resources have been charged by Gov. Ducey work with the 22 different “planning areas” around Arizona – regions that have been carved out in some cases because of the locally unique water issues they face -- to refine water-use demand information and work with stakeholders to develop consensus-driven solution sets for future demand and supply imbalances.
Wenden area stakeholders vent frustrations at groundwater local meetings
Sometimes it just helps to vent.
Residents of the West Basins Planning area around Wenden, Ariz., arrived at an early afternoon stakeholders meeting on March 28 at the Centennial Community Center to discuss details about the condition of their groundwater supply.
And, to raise some pretty heartfelt concerns about what they fear the future of their groundwater may be.
Measuring Arizona’s depth: The starting point for a statewide water plan
It is a cool, breezy-to-windy morning as Paul Ivanich departs west from Phoenix toward the vast “Ranegras Plain” and the hundreds of water wells dotting its sun-parched landscape.
Ivanich and other Water Resources hydrologists and field staff are conducting a “basin sweep,” measuring and analyzing the groundwater levels in wells located in exotic and remote sectors of the Ranegras Plain. Areas known to Water Resources planners by names like “Utting.” And “East of Utting.”
At the West Basin Municipal Water District of Los Angeles, tiered levels of treated recycled water are not sold merely as plain, old recycled water. Dude, that's like calling it cleaned-up sewer water… which in fact is what it is.
Rather, West Basin proudly identifies its recycled water products as "designer waters."