I have been reading that Hudbay Minerals’ new drilling on their mining claims north of Rosemont open pit copper project is being activated. I thought we had possibly put this to bed years ago, but they just do not give up. If they are allowed to come into our community and draw down our precious groundwater, it is going to have a devastating affect on our water supply. Remember this is a foreign company that will destroy our water supply and environment.
History lesson: There was a group of local homeowners that got so concerned with our groundwater that we organized and called ourselves Citizen Water Action Coalition from 2006 to 2009. We began by studying our groundwater supply, use and what is the source of replenishing the water. What we found was quite frightening. The only source of recharge basically was rainfall and water coming down the Santa Cruz River. In 2007, the total amount of groundwater use for one year was 68,000 acre-feet. The amount of what was put back into the basin was 28,000 acre-feet. This left a deficit of 40,000 acre-feet. (Say for five years 188,000 acre-feet loss to Green Valley to replenish our water supply). This has basically been the case for years.
Green Valley does not have a sustainable water supply given current groundwater pumping rates in the Upper Santa Cruz River Basin. It will decline even faster as water demands grow.
In 2006, the mining used 27,000 acre-feet and the pecan grove 29,800 acre-feet. Municipal (which is homes was 6,700).
Rosemont Mine in 2006-07 began test drilling on the mining claims and within six months the well owners in the Sahuarita Heights area began to have some serious issues with their wells. If this mine is allowed to gain all their permits and begin to mine in that area it is going to have a major impact in that area and Quail Creek.
They cannot use our precious groundwater or we will one day wake up and not be able to flush our toilets and run our households.
I was shocked to learn that Supervisor Steve Christy supports the mine and saying that it will bring jobs to the area. What about all the homeowners who came here in good faith and politicians not looking after our future. How much has he studied our history in this basin regarding groundwater.
We made many inroads during our years under the coalition, but we began to have sickness and health issues so we dissolved the group. We had the Save the Scenic Santa Rita group that was and has been doing an outstanding job, but it is now time for another local group to form and take the charge to save our community.
If you have retired and getting bored and looking for something to do then form a group and get involved to stop the destruction of our community. I still have a lot of saved information that I can share to help you get started and save some time, but due to family health issues I would not be able to be involved.
There were several groups formed by local businesses, but one thing I have found out is the only way we are going to save our community is forming a local group and keeping it that way.
Peggy Bonthron has been a Green Valley resident since 2003.