AzGT Representatives Attend Workshops on Water Issues in Sulphur Springs Valley

As water levels fall, concerns rise.

For Immediate Release

Contacts:

Geoff Oldfather, (520) 586-5465, C: (520) 444-3473, goldfather@azgt.coop

J.D. Wallace, (520) 586-5157, C: (520) 235-4203, jdwallace@azgt.coop

Eric Kaldahl, Ph.D., RPA, president and CEO of Amerind Foundation, Inc., speaks with Sulphur Springs Valley resident Alan Seitz at the first meeting of the Willcox Water Project. In front of the men are pots that are thousands of years old that were found in the area.

WILLCOX AND SUNSITES, ARIZONA – Arizona G&T Cooperatives has participated in a series of three workshops sponsored by the Willcox Water Project. The sessions are designed to educate the public and seek policy solutions to declining ground water levels in the Sulphur Springs Valley.

“The seminars help people understand the basics of water, and how our lives revolve around water even though we’re in the middle of the desert,” said Cochise County Supervisor Peggy Judd, who coordinated the workshops.

The workshops were repeated in Willcox and Sunsites. The first covered the prehistory and history of the valley, with a presentation by Eric Kaldahl, president and CEO of the Amerind Museum in Dragoon, on indigenous people who lived in the area thousands of years ago. Howard Bethel, retired general manager of Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC), covered more recent valley history, along with proposed spacecraft landings for the Willcox Playa in the future. SSVEC is a Member of Arizona G&Ts, which owns and operates Apache Generating Station near Dragoon.

The second seminars discussed area aquifers and private and public wells that serve residents, businesses and the irrigation-based agricultural industry in the Sulphur Springs Valley. The third reviewed research by the Arizona Department of Water Resources, water availability and modeling, conservation, and recharge projects along the Upper San Pedro River.

As Judd explained, participants represented agriculture, tourism, government and other stakeholders concerned about water. Ultimately, participants may propose policy to take to the Arizona state legislature. Learn more at willcoxwaterproject.org.

 

About Arizona G&T Cooperatives

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) and Sierra Southwest (Sierra) together comprise the Arizona G&T Cooperatives (www.azgt.coop). AEPCO owns and operates the 605-megawatt (combined gross) Apache Generating Station, located at Cochise, east of Benson. AEPCO also owns, operates and maintains 829 miles of electric power transmission line—including line owned in part with other utilities— and 27 substations to provide wholesale electric power from Apache to six member distribution cooperatives in southern Arizona, western New Mexico, northwestern Arizona and California.

Sierra is the vehicle to develop new ways to serve the renewable energy needs of our Member cooperatives and customers, and helps maximize solar and other renewable tax credits that are available. Sierra has initiated two utility scale solar projects; the 20 MW Apache Solar project on AEPCO property adjacent to and northeast of AGS, and SunAnza, the 2 MW solar array adjacent to the Anza EC headquarters in Anza, California.

Combined, the distribution cooperatives that receive AEPCO’s wholesale power serve more than 161,000 meters representing more than 420,000 individual residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial member/consumers.

The Class A member cooperatives that receive wholesale power from AEPCO include Duncan Valley Electric Cooperative, Duncan; Graham County Electric Cooperative, Pima; Mohave Electric Cooperative, Bullhead City; Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Willcox; Trico Electric Cooperative, Marana; and our California member, Anza Electric Cooperative, Anza, California.

These member cooperatives own the AzGT and, by extension, the G&T Cooperatives are owned by their members—the people at the end of the line who use the power.