Water and its availability are on just about everyone’s mind especially because Lake Mead is almost at critical levels.

The Colorado River, that feeds Lake Mead, provides water to eight states, in addition to Mexico.

These states are divided into two regions: the Upper Basin and the Lower Basin. The Upper Basin includes Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The Lower Basin includes Arizona, California, and Nevada, and Mexico.

Arizona state officials say that 1 in 20 wells in the Hualapai Valley Basin around Kingman would no longer produce in 100 years if the current rate of pumping continues.

The lack of regulations in rural areas allows companies and farms – including nut orchards, dairy operations and foreign-owned alfalfa farms that send feed overseas – to come in and install additional wells.

Officials say round 45,000 acre-feet of water is being pumped out every year of the aquifer serving Kingman, according to the Arizona Department of Water Resources. That’s more than four times the amount naturally replenished each year, according to state and federal estimates.

A 1,050-foot well and the infrastructure, including the pump cost about $30,000 seven years ago. Nowadays, that same well would cost in the excess of $57,000.

The SVGB that includes Golden Valley through Yucca, east to the foothills of the Hualapai Mountains, and onto Topock, is the second largest aquifer in the continental United States.

One local resident has repoted that his well is about 1,000 feet deep, produces about 11 to 13 gallons per minute and the water coming out of it is about 96 degrees Fahrenheit. He further said the water temperature of all of the neighbors’ wells is also about 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

An 1999 government study that indicated 67 wells or test sites in Golden Valley averaged 96 degrees, and had been tested and the temperature of the water coming out of the test sites ranged from 54.752 degrees Fahrenheit sampled from a spring near the foothills of the Hualapai Mountains east of I-40 and Yucca, to a whopping 108.356 degrees Fahrenheit temperature from a 720-foot well just north of Topock.

There are seven springs in various areas of the SVGB. The deepest well, located in Golden Valley north of Highway 68, goes to 1,355 feet, with the water level at 820 feet and a water temperature of 97.196 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some of the wells located within the 1,587-square mile SVGB tested during 1999 contained elements and compounds that exceeded the proposed Primary Maximum Contaminant Levels established by Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Seventeen out of 67 test wells or sites contained uranium, four wells contained radium 226+228. Some of other elements, chemicals and/or compounds that were found in some of the 67 wells or test sites in 1999 are bad for your health, but some are potentially dangerous. They include arsenic, antimony, barium, nitrates, chromium and radon.

People interested in learning more about the 1999 Ambient Groundwater Quality of the Sacramento Valley Basin Baseline Study and the quality of the water can go to azdeq.gov/environ/water/assessment/download/ofr-01-04.pdf for the entire text of the report.

Butch Meriwether