The Prescott Valley Water District intends to borrow $4.7 million to establish a new well field that will pump a minimum of 3,000 gallons of groundwater every minute. The proposed field will go in north of Highway 89A in order to get out of the expanding "cone of depression" created by the Town's well field on the west side of PV.
The Prescott Valley Town Council members wore two hats Thursday evening when they acted simultaneously as the council and as the Prescott Valley Water District Board of Directors to discuss the proposal to increase PV's water pumping capability. Also present was the Town's Municipal Property Corporation (MPC), a five-member board appointed by the council to issue bonds for the Town.
The proposal calls for drilling and equipping six new wells north of town and tying them into the water system. The Town already got a jump on the project when it installed a sleeve for the proposed water line under Highway 89A during the overpass construction at Glassford Hill Road. The move saved the Town about $30,000 dollars it would have cost to bore a hole under the completed highway for the sleeve.
The water district is ready to issue bonds to begin work on the project, but it lacks the collateral to secure a $4.7 million loan even though it has the capability to pay it back with income derived from water users. The water district will enter into a complex "series of leases and lease-backs" with the Town of PV and the MPC consulting attorney Michael Cafiso told the council/board and MPC Thursday evening.
The Town of PV will use its own net worth in excise taxes – sales taxes, income from fines, forfeitures, fees, and state revenues – to secure the loan. It will lease the well field property to the MPC, which will lease it back to the Town for the cost of the debt service (loan payments) on the bonds, which will total about $430,000 per year for 15 years. Ownership of the property will eventually go to the water district.
Councilman/board member Mike Flannery said he is "somewhat nervous" about securing a loan that is partially dependent upon state shared revenues, a reference to the state legislature cutting state revenues to towns and cities this year. Cafiso pointed out that water district revenues, not excise taxes, will repay the loans. The Town will only secure the loan by pledging the Town's excise (sales) taxes. The council/board appeared to reach a consensus to approve the proposal at the Aug. 14 public meeting.
Pumping 3,000 gallons per minute, the six wells will add another 4.32 million gallons per day (MGD) to the water system's capacity. Presently, the Upper System capacity is about 10 MGD, PV Public Works Director Larry Tarkowski said. The Lower System, which serves the Prescott Country Club area, is 1.5 MGD.
Tarkowski said he expects the new well field to create a cone of depression, or drawdown, of only four feet. The multiple wells, each pumping at 300-500 gallons per minute (gpm), will create less drawdown than a single well pumping at 3,000 gpm.
"By dispersing a lower volume of pump sites and rotating the pumping areas, we are managing our aquifer better," Tarkowski said. The plan is to rotate pumping between the well fields to allow one of them to "rest," or naturally recover from the cone of depression, while the other field produces water. The plan has the encouragement of Arizona Department of Water resources, Tarkowski said.
The new well field will not affect "exempt" wells – private wells that produce less than 35 gpm – in the Coyote Springs area, Tarkowski said.
"In fact, we've been pumping the Viewpoint well for almost eight years at 300 gpm with less than a foot of drawdown," he said. "It is not impacting any wells and we have never had a complaint."
The total cost of acquiring land, drilling six wells and laying in infrastructure for the north well field is about $5.35 million. The water district can provide about $1.35 million, but will have to borrow the remaining $4 million. The cost of issuing bonds and associated financial fees is about $700,000.
Work on the new well field has already begun. At the July 31 public meeting the council approved a $275,835 engineering services agreement with Civiltech Engineering for the company to start design work, including obtaining appropriate permits. The company has already worked on the Granville Booster Station and the Glassford Main project, which will tie into the new well field system.