N B J RA N C H

Press Release
Contact: NBJ RANCH: Clive Jordan, Manager Phone: (928) 567-9660

Post Office Box 9 Camp Verde, Arizona 86322 Phone (928) 567-9660 Cell Phone (928) 300-1785 Fax (928) 567-0971

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 9 A.M., October 2, 2005

GROUNDWATER WELL OWNERS THREATENED IN THE VERDE VALLEY CAMP VERDE, AZ – OCTOBER 2, 2007: should be alarmed. Groundwater well owners

In an unprecedented legal action,

evidentiary hearings are scheduled to begin this month in lawsuits filed by the Salt River Project against well owners in the Verde Valley. The nation’s third largest public power and

water utility claims that the defendants are illegally taking water from the Verde River by pumping “subflow.” In laymen’s terms, “subflow” refers to water that flows through sand and gravel under and adjoining a river. Under the State’s water adjudication statutes, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) prepares impartial reports that define and map the subflow zone and identify procedures for testing whether a well is pumping subflow. Water

users are afforded due process because the burden of proof lies with the State and they can challenge ADWR’s findings. In the

SRP cases, however, SRP is thwarting the adjudication process

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GROUNDWATER WELLS THREATENED IN THE VERDE VALLEY

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and shifting the burden of proving whether or not a well is in the subflow zone to the well owners themselves, who are forced to hire hydrologists and other experts in order to defend themselves against SRP’s claims. In the cases currently before the Maricopa County Superior Court, NBJ Ranch and other small property owners are faced with the possibility that they may no longer use the wells at their family farms and homes. These are not developers; they

are people who have depended on their well water for decades without challenge. In NBJ Ranch’s case, SRP’s expert hydrologist asserted that the ranch is “probably” pumping subflow. Lawsuits

filed by large utility corporations against landowners alleging that a well owner is “probably” pumping subflow introduces a disturbing legal trend that is quite different from ADWR’s impartial factual reports contemplated in the State’s water adjudication statutes. Depending on the outcome of the cases, other well owners in the Verde Valley and throughout the state of Arizona may face similar legal challenges involving hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars worth of out-of-pocket expenses. Compared with most residents in the Verde Valley, SRP has seemingly unlimited funds. For additional information about the status of the case, visit http://www.western-water.com and the State’s water adjudication website. -End-