KNAU and Arizona News
7:33 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

State regulators give Tusayan developer until August to submit water plan

The clock is ticking for an Italian developer to tell the state where it will get water for a planned real estate development near the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Arizona Corporation Commission recently told Stilo Development Group it has until early August to submit its water plan to state regulators.

The developer is asking the state for permission to form a water utility company.

The utility would provide water to Stilo’s planned commercial and residential developments inside the town of Tusayan and on nearby forest land.

The big question is where will Stilo get water for the hotels, restaurants, shops and campgrounds it plans to build on 374 acres a stone’s throw from the south rim.

The biggest worry for environmentalists, the park service and the Havasupai Tribe is the possibility the developer will drill deep wells into the regional aquifer.

But Stilo spokesman Andy Jacobs says using groundwater is the last option.

“We prefer to find a water source that doesn’t affect groundwater. It would be premature to go through all those alternatives because we’re not sure if they’re all feasible at this point.”

One option is a throwback to a decade ago, when Stilo tried and failed to build a large development in Tusayan.

Back then, the plan was to bring water by railroad from the Central Arizona Project to Tusayan.

Jacobs says that plan is still on the table.

“It’s one of several options though.”

Jacobs says Stilo is also looking at other options, including rainwater collection and using reclaimed water.