Customers of Community Water Co. of Green Valley will have a chance next month to tell the state what they think of the company’s plan to let a Canadian mining firm pay for a major new water line.
The not-for-profit water company, which serves about 11,600 homes and businesses, announced in July it plans to let Augusta Resource Corp. pay for the $9 million to $15 million pipeline to bring Colorado River water to the unincorporated community south of Tucson.
On Dec. 5, the three members of the Arizona Corporation Commission, which would have to approve the plan, will get comments from the public and possibly ask questions of Community Water and Augusta, according to a notice on the ACC Web site.
“They want to hear from the ratepayers of the Community Water Co. of Green Valley,” said Community Water President Arturo Gabaldón.
Augusta hopes to build a copper mine on the eastern flanks of the Santa Rita Mountains. Under the water-line agreement, Community Water would capture water in recharge basins and allow it to seep into the aquifer.
That would offset groundwater pumped by the mine.
After 15 years, Community Water would gain rights to the water – enough to serve about 2,100 families every year – under terms set forth in a letter signed in July by Augusta and Community Water.
The pipeline would be built regardless of whether the mine get permits it needs to operate, or whether it is ever built, the letter indicates.
Community Water extended a 120-day self-imposed deadline for a formal agreement because the state has to check rules for land on the tentative 7-mile route. Though the route already has electricity and gas lines on it, the water line must be approved separately, Gabaldón said.
“Our engineers are taking a look at it foot by foot,” he said.
The plan has drawn heavy criticism. Detractors say Augusta is trying to buy support for a mine that has sparked ire from residents, environmentalists and politicians from Tucson to Washington, D.C.
Community Water thinks the plan benefits everyone. The plan is not contingent upon the mine’s approval, and it would help replenish a water table that has dropped 100 feet in recent decades, Gabaldón has said.
IF YOU GO
What: Arizona Corporation Commission meeting to discuss plans for a Central Arizona Project pipeline to bring Colorado River water to Green Valley.
When: 1 p.m. Dec. 5
Where: American Legion Hall, 1560 W. Duval Mine Road, Green Valley
For more information, please see this story at www.tucsoncitizen.com
ON THE WEB
Community Water Company of Green Valley: www.communitywater.com
Central Arizona Project: www.cap-az.com
Augusta Resource Corporation: www.augustaresource.com