Water Pact Helps Well Exchange and Aquifer Recharging

The town of Carefree, Ariz., the Carefree Water Co. and the Desert Forest Golf Club signed a joint program that features a well exchange and the recharging of groundwater tables in the Carefree aquifer. The water agreement week will head off a costly arsenic problem and replenish a local aquifer.

After the Environmental Protection Agency revised its federal standards for arsenic levels in drinking water and under the new guidelines, which go into effect in 2006, one of Carefree's wells would have failed.

According to Carefree Mayor Ed Morgan, it would have been very expensive to bring the well up to standards. Instead, the town will pump in drinkable water from a Desert Forest Golf Club well. The golf club will get the arsenic water, which it can safely use for irrigation. This form of arsenic, which is a naturally occurring substance in groundwater, will be filtered out as it makes its way back into the groundwater from the golf course. Morgan said this part of the agreement "will provide tremendous savings" to residents and the Carefree Water Co., the Arizona Republic reported.

The exchange could take place as early as January, said Stan Francom, general manager of Carefree Water Co., About a mile of pipelines between Carefree and the golf course should be in place by mid-October, he added.

Meanwhile, a million-gallon reservoir, which will hold much of the drinkable water from the golf course, is under construction at Pima Road and Stagecoach Pass. The reservoir and new pumping station costs $3.8 million and will ensure a future supply of drinkable water for Carefree residents, according to the Arizona Republic.

The recharging of the aquifer is more complicated , a $2.2 million pipeline will be constructed to transport Central Arizona Project water to a recharge location on the golf course. Desert Forest will pay for 18 percent of the infrastructure costs. Carefree and the Carefree Water Co. pay for the rest as well as their allocated amount of CAP water. The golf course, which has grandfathered rights to pump ground water, benefits because the recharging of the aquifer will allow it to continue pumping this inexpensive water source.

Morgan said the agreement also provides Desert Forest with "an insurance policy" in the event the state's drought gets so bad that all groundwater pumping is suspended. The golf course could quality for a CAP allotment because of its investment in the recharge infrastructure, the Arizona Republic reported.

The Arizona Republic

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