KINGMAN - Mohave County Manager Ron Walker wants the Board of Supervisors to amend the county's Business Goals to include "natural resources planning and management."
"Mohave County's open space, clean air and water are important, and fragile, assets," he said. "The people who live here and the people who want to live here value these natural resources. But there are those who would take advantage of all of us and, in the process, destroy the very things that make life so good in our area. I want this county to take positive steps to protect and preserve our environment."
Walker has placed three items on the Board of Supervisors meeting agenda for today that deal with environmental concerns.
He would like specific planning to take place regarding solid waste pollution.
"Illegal dumping has proliferated throughout or rural areas," he said. "Although our ERACE (Environmental Rural Area Cleanup Enforcement) program has been involved in many areawide cleanups, we have been as effective against illegal dumping as battling an avalanche with a broom and dustpan. We need to map out specific objectives in dealing with this problem and take action."
Water availability and quality is the biggest problem rural Arizona has and will have in coming years, Walker said. "With growth, comes great thirst. Residential development and industrial corporate entities are competing for our water resources. Colorado River states continue to battle for river allocation, with Nevada being the most recent recipient of a greater share through the Arizona Water Banking Authority."
Pollution along the river is a serious concern, he said, as well as the contamination of groundwater through the proliferation of septic tanks. "The Colorado River Regional Sewer Coalition has been working to bring federal funds to sewer river areas. Little major progress has been accomplished.
"Although Mohave County has set an example in building energy-efficient facilities and pursuing a Green Building Certification for the new County Administration Building," he said, "we need to be more active in encouraging energy conservation for all new businesses, structures and services in our area."
Walker pointed out that Mohave County has signed agreements in prior years that have taken advantage of the governmental agency, the taxpayers and the future health of the environment.
"The status of groundwater in Mohave County is challenged," he said. "We have a limited supply and a major demand. It is in the best long-term interest of current and future citizens to act proactively in water management, water conservation, water quality, air quality and solid waste management. I recommend the County Business Plan add the Natural Resources element and that we proceed to systematically and strategically determine measurable goals and objectives and proactively manage all aspects, within statutory authority, for the best use of our resources to enhance the lives of current and future residents."
His second agenda item seeks to declare the original I-40 water system usage to be at capacity with the Griffith Energy obligation fulfilled.
His third proposal to the board is to authorize staff to work with the "Arizona Counties Insurance Pool to secure the services of an attorney, at Pool rates, specializing in water management and utility issues."
The board discussed hiring an attorney to specialize in water management issues in April 2006. At that time they decided there were no current major issues or pending litigation that would require a full-time water attorney.
"Today, there are issues where we would be well served to have a specialist in the field of water management and utility law to assist us," Walker wrote for his agenda backup. He referred to his Natural Resources Management proposal; assessment of the Northern Arizona Energy Project and participation in the Western Area Power Administration's environmental assessment process for that project; determination of the I-40 water system having reached capacity; review and renegotiation of existing water partnerships; and assessment of the development and water requests to the county.
"New homes will be built and new businesses will come to Mohave County," Walker said. "We have to make sure to guard against those entities that visualize Mohave County resources as disposable. We just have to do everything we can to plan for and take action to ensure a clean bright future for Mohave County residents where the air is not fouled, the land is not trashed and our water resources are not wasted."
The Board of Supervisors will meet beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Mohave County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St., Kingman.