Originally Published: October 18, 2011 9:58 p.m.
Given the position of Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley on the regional water model, I would like to offer a different perspective. When I was Prescott mayor, we conducted 5½ months of negotiations with Salt River Project (SRP) in an attempt to negotiate an agreement to avoid a lawsuit.
SRP was represented by John Sullivan (associate general manager), Dave Roberts (manager, Water Rights & Contracts) and Greg Kornrumph (principal analyst, Water Rights & Contracts). Governor Janet Napolitano allowed Arizona Department of Water Rights Director Herb Guenther to participate actively in this issue.
During these negotiations, we had technical presentations from the people developing the regional water model. The general consensus at that time was that the regional water model would be better than anything that currently existed; however, there was a need to develop a nested model to augment the regional model.
The regional model covers a very large area and the cells in the model are fairly large. A nested model would do finer modeling within a small area of the regional model. We actually obtained estimates from the USGS for the development of that nested model and had general agreement among all the parties that that nested model and additional monitoring wells between the Big Chino Water Ranch and the Verde Headwaters were critical components in an overall solution.
Hearing the current debate from the tri-city water technicians might give you the idea the regional model is fatally flawed. It is not. When the regional model was under development it was realized that a nested model needed to be developed to provide finer grain results.
Rather that discussing throwing the baby out with the bath water, the discussion needs to get back to development of the nested model as that is the crucial issue. If we cannot redirect the current discussion in that direction, then I would conclude that we are dealing with a political agenda rather that a technical question. In that case, the tri-cities should be prepared for SRP to resurrect their lawsuit.
(Jack D. Wilson was Prescott Mayor from Nov. 2007-Nov. 2009. While he worked at Amoco Corporation in Chicago, he managed a large linear programming group for almost two years.)