State Capitol News
2:10 am
Wed May 7, 2008

Williams can use illegal well

Phoenix, AZ – State senators agreed this morning to let Williams continue pumping water from an illegally drilled well. But as Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports, they want to be sure this kind of thing does not happen again.

The city drilled wells about a dozen years ago after getting
permission from the state Department of Water Resources. Only
thing is, one is not in its own groundwater basin but in an
adjacent one. And state laws pretty much prevent moving water
from one basin to another. Rather than make Williams spend the
money on another well -- one that might not produce water -- this
special measure lets the city keep using this well. But lawmakers
included a series of special restrictions which Sen. Jake Flake
said narrows the scope of this law to the unique circumstances
here.

(Due to the topographical and geographical limitations of the
particular land area in which the wells were drilled, this
limited exception to the groundwater interbasin transfer
prohibition does not serve as a precedent and will not be a long-
term solution to rural areas' water supply needs.)

The measure specificaly applies only use to communites of fewer
than 8,000 residents and only where state officials determine
wells were drilled by mistake. And it caps pumping at about 228
million gallons a year. The bill needs final House approval
before going to the governor.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is
Howard Fischer.