Editor: Prescott’s government knows its aquifer is in a severe overdraft condition and that its wells have been declining for years. Additionally, many residents in Chino Valley don’t need to be told the Little Chino Aquifer is also being drained. Their wells have dried up due to pumping by Prescott. Yet, Prescott, due primarily to the so-called “plat rush of 1999” that it allowed, plans to approximately double its population. Where is the logic?
The city’s version of “logic” is twofold: first, it relies on an outside expert who, in spite of the above data, concluded it can grow to over 80,000 residents without more water. Secondly, and as if it admits the expert could be wrong, the city has touted its “insurance policy,” the taking of water from a third aquifer, the Big Chino, the vital source for both the residents of Paulden and the upper Verde River. That move, however, would require voter approval of a huge tax measure.
One might conclude the city knows that such a tax measure would fail at this time. Existing voters would not want to pay for water for massive new growth, but once that growth is in place it can’t be reversed. The new residents and the pre-existing population would then be in the same boat. The city could then say, “Oops, our consultant was wrong, sorry. Now we must have that tax, or draconian water curtailments will result.”
Either the city’s logic is like justifying driving recklessly because you have auto insurance, or the “oops” announcement is already being written.