State Capitol News
11:29 pm
Mon March 31, 2008

Williams can continue pumping from illegal well

Phoenix, AZ – The state House has agreed to let Williams keep pumping water it gets from an illegally drilled well. But Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports some lawmakers are not happy about it.

Williams drilled the well about a dozen years ago in its search
for water. Only thing is, someone made a mistake and it was built
outside the aquifer the city is entitled to tap. Rather than
force the expense of a new well, this measure lets the city keep
pumping more than 225 million gallons a year. Rep. Tom Prezelski
said he understands the move was not intentional.

(But I think this bill sets a very bad precedent. Our communities
should be planning for their water needs within their own basins
and not taking water away, potentially, from other communities in
other basins.)

But Rep. Lucy Mason said it wasn't entirely Williams' fault. She
said the Department of Water Resources approved the drilling. And
she read a letter on the House floor Monday from agency director
Herb Guenther saying this kind of mistake won't happen again.

(The department recognizes the importance of restricting
groundwater transportation between basins and strongly believes
the steps it has taken will ensure that no future statutory
exceptions will be needed and that this measure establishes no
precedent for future transfers.)

The measure now goes to the Senate.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.