NOTES to water briefing

Note 1:  This report uses pseudonyms for almost everyone who helped with basic work or comments.  Friendly Critic, SVSkeptic, Well Placed Source, Marnee Ford, Indispensable, Dedicated, you know (individually) who you are, and this report could not possibly have been written without your criticism and suggestions.  This writer cannot thank any of you enough.

Note 2:  A map of the San Pedro's watershed is at

Excellent reports about the Basin are at
and there's an extensive photo tour at

Note 3:  There's a long and winding trail of control from one giant company in Canada, the Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (APUC), to Algonquin Power Co., to Algonquin Holdco, to Algonquin Power Fund (Canada) Inc., to Algonquin Power Fund (America) Inc., to Liberty Water Co. (the patriotic name that this Canadian company chose for what used to be named Algonquin Water Resources of America, Inc.), and finally to Bella Vista, Northern Sunrise, and Southern Sunrise.  See the organization chart at
taken from the Annual Information Form in APUC's 2010 report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  A New York Times article at
shows Bella Vista water as serving 22,500 people, Northern Sunrise water as serving 890 people, and Southern Sunrise as serving 1996 people.  The company says, basically, that Bella Vista serves Sierra Vista, Northern Sunrise serves Whetstone, and Southern Sunrise serves Hereford.

Note 4:  At the September 5, 2006, BOS meeting -- the minutes are at
-- a CCIPRA member asked during the Call To the Public (which was then at the beginning of the meetings, where it can be useful) to move a discussion about funding for the USPP from the consent agenda (where nobody could talk about it), and the discussion was removed from the consent agenda, and then-County Administrator Jody Klein discussed it.  According to the minutes, Klein said that a proposed Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) was "an administrative agreement between the County and the City of Sierra Vista.  He said it does not commit the county to any budget allocations -- that any County monies committed to the Upper San Pedro Partnership (USPP) are committed through the normal budget process.  He explained that since the USPP is not a legal entity unto itself, the City of Sierra Vista serves as a fiscal agent for the partnership, entering into contracts for the USPP.  Most funding and most expenses of the USPP are paid through the City.  On occasion, the County has a contract that is independent of the USPP and the County acts as fiscal agent for the USPP.  He provided the example of the WaterWise Program which is a contract between the County and the University of Arizona (UofA), saying that the USPP saves the 6-7% administrative fee normally charged by UofA because the County is acting as fiscal agent.  This IGA merely acknowledges the arrangement by which either the City or the County could act as a fiscal agent for the USPP.  He added that any specific contracts that the County enters into on behalf of the USPP require separate action by the Board.  Chairman Searle called for the vote and the motion passed unanimously."

Note 5:  An Intergovernmental Agreement between the County and the DOB was discussed at the January 29, 2008, meeting of the BOS.  The discussion -- online at
-- included "the reason for the IGA is that when legislation created the USPWD Organizing Board, $250,000.00 in funding was budgeted to defray administrative costs.  The funding was channeled through the Arizona Department of Water Resources rather than given directly to the Board.  ADWR now wants to give the money to the Board which is a volunteer board with no professional staff and no ability to open bank accounts or in any way take care of the funding.  The County is being asked to act as the fiscal agent to handle and control the funding....  The County performs these duties for other special districts and there is a fee schedule in place for reimbursement to the county for services rendered.  The Board is attempting to hire a staff person but until that position is filled, the County is also assisting with posting, filing, and other administrative duties.  The County will also be reimbursed for those services.  Supervisor Newman [an Arizona attorney] expressed his belief that there is a strong possibility of legal conflict of interest by having the County Attorney also providing legal advice to the Board.  Mr. Hanson [the deputy county attorney advising the BOS at this meeting] assured him there is no legal conflict involved in the dual roles.  Chairman Searle clarified that this IGA only concerns the County's duties as a fiscal agent, not a legal one....  [T]he motion carried unanimously."

The IGA came up again at the July 1, 2008, meeting of the BOS.  At that time, the same attorney, Hanson, "stated that the [DOB] has been functioning without staff.  It is a nine member volunteer board and ... they are in need of legitimate staff support....  This IGA has been determined to be the best solution.  This assistant will be part time working 10-20 hours a month.  Salary will be paid by the County and reimbursement will be made by the [DOB,] which has funding through the State.  Supervisor Newman ... questioned Mr. Hanson's membership on the [DOB] and was told it is State mandated...."  The minutes are online at
The IGA came up again at the June 30, 2009, meeting of the BOS.  This time, attorney Hanson said "the organizing board would like to retain a consultant to function as an Outreach Coordinator to explain technical aspects to the public.  There is an existing IGA but it does not cover the search for an Outreach Coordinator.  There will be no cost to the County and this IGA augments an existing IGA which deals with managing payables and payroll, etc....  [T]he motion carried unanimously."

Note 6:  On the salinity issue, Sandy Kunzer, who opposes creating the District, has a better answer than the proponents of the District produced at the Gordley meeting.  Sandy notes "this is based on analogy to just about every other sedimentary basin in the Basin and Range physiographic province.  The deeper you go the older and more saline the waters get.  Proof?  No!  Very good analogy?  Yes."  The proponents of creating a district should appreciate Sandy's fairness, since he opposes the district.  However, the burden still remains on the District's proponents to provide actual numbers about profitability, and to show that drilling technology will not improve in the next 2000 years.

Note 7:  Call's phony number is discussed in detail at

In 2006, Call went to the state legislature to speak about water conservation, and used the bogus "312" number.  See
Call never answered public questioning about the "312" number; one example was the BOS meeting of February 13, 2007, whose minutes are at
Call never recanted his "312" number, but eventually, after being exposed enough, he silently stopped using it.

A good overview, posted in 2007 and updated by this report, is

Note 8:  There is some authority for Friendly Critic's suggestion that a focus was always to conserve the flow of the Upper San Pedro.  From the BOS minutes for February 20, 2007:  "Item 4 ... to adopt Resolution 07-12 ... Supporting the Passage of a Bill ... Creating the Upper San Pedro Water District....  [T]his bill arose our of the Statewide Water Advisory Group process and it creates a unique pilot project in the Sierra Vista Sub-Watershed that would enable the area to deal with its water issues.  He stated that the bill would create an elected seven-member district board which would have the ability to own, operate and do projects within the Sierra Vista Sub-Watershed [and] to raise money by a water use tax that would not apply to exempt wells, or agriculture or ranching....  Supervisor Newman emphasized the importance of including language in the bill that indicated the reason for doing this is to save the Upper San Pedro....  Following discussion ... it was agreed that Mr. Klein would add another 'Whereas' clause in the Board's Resolution indicating that the rationale for supporting this bill was to save the San Pedro River....  the motion carried unanimously."

Based on that, it appears that there Newman's focus, at least, was on "saving" the river, and that the other Supervisors went along with him.  But the same passage indicates that Newman's focus was local, since it was not a purpose of the State bill.  And by 2009, history had been rewritten so that, instead of "saving the river" being an afterthought as was revealed at the BOS meeting of February 20, 2007 meeting, "saving the river" had supposedly always been the major priority.  The BOS minutes from June 30, 2009, include "Hanson ... said the legislature created the organizing board for the Upper San Pedro Water District almost two years ago.  Their primary charge is to develop a plan for augmentation and conservation of the Upper San Pedro River and present it to the voters at the next General Election."  The minutes are online at
An organization which rewrites history to serve its present needs cannot expect to find favor among the fact-based population.

In addition, there's plenty of evidence to show that Pat Call and big builders were jumping up and down about the water supply for people, not just for keeping the river pretty.  Old BOS meetings are replete with discussions about adequacy of the water supply for people, not just for the river.  Consider Smith Ranch, a huge house tract that the Supervisors unanimously approved in 2005, and which the voters resoundingly repudiated in 2006.  Popular feeling against Smith Ranch was so strong that IN ALL 64 VOTING PRECINCTS in Cochise County, a majority of voters reversed what the Supes had done.  The minutes of the BOS meeting that approved Smith Ranch are at

According to the minutes, the discussion included:
    "... A water conservation strategy is being proposed through the use of Covenants, Conditions and Regulations (CC&R)....
    "This master development plan received extensive review by the ... Water Conservation Department[], ... the Arizona Department of Water Resources and a consulting firm which evaluated the water impact, Geo Systems Analysis.
    "... the factors used for this review were: ... water supply (adequacy and conservation) ....
    "The original water study was not validated by the consultant hired by the County.  The applicant had this study redone and the County's consultant has approved the results.  The Arizona Department of Water Resources will make the adequacy determination.  Staff is recommending that approval of this docket be contingent upon their determination.
    "[The County] cited the following factors in favor and against the rezoning:
    "8.  Projected water pumping impacts ....
    "9.  There is an opportunity for this development to set a new standard for ... water conservation through model CC&Rs.
    "10.  A developer-paid wastewater treatment/recharge system and water delivery system will minimize the impacts normally associated with unregulated water use ....
    "4.  Water supply in the Benson sub-watershed ... needs to be addressed with the participation of all concerned.
    "5.  Pumping for the Smith Ranch Development is projected to impact adjacent wells by up to 130 feet of drawdown after 100 years if conservation and recharge efforts are not implemented.
    "... the key benefits of the Smith Ranch Development Plan are ... innovative and comprehensive water program ....
    "Mr. Rob Longaker, Project Manager ... covered the issue of water supply, water impacts, water conservation and water replenishment ....  An annual water conservation performance audit report will be submitted to Cochise County ....
    "Ms. Mary McCool ... addressed the issue of water depletion and urged the Board to obtain the Arizona Department of Water Resources determination of adequacy before any zoning change.
    "... residents spoke against this rezoning [raising points including] There is a possibility that the San Pedro River may dry up in some areas and that 2,000 wells may be affected....
    "Vice Chairman Newman stated that the major concern from most residents is the issue of water adequacy and water recharge....  Diamond Ventures has agreed to provide an annual water conservation/recharge report and the County is free to have an audit performed by a third party....
    "Chairman Call indicated ... that some issues are still paramount such as water ...."