INFORMATION ABOUT THE

WELL PROTECTION PROGRAM

 FOR WELL OWNERS IN SAHUARITA HEIGHTS

YOUR WELL MUST BE LOCATED IN THE AREA SHOWN ON THE MAP - ROUGHLY BETWEEN SANTA RITA ON THE WEST, SWAN ON THE EAST, SAHUARITA ROAD ON THE NORTH AND SOUTH OF DAWSON. CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR WELL

FOR A COPY OF THE WELL PROTECTION AGREEMENT CLICK HERE

The Well Protection Program agreement is in two parts.  The first part is the Master Agreement which Rosemont has signed and which will be recorded as a covenant and restriction on the well site property they own in the area.  You do not have to sign the Master Agreement. Rosemont has already signed it and it is now binding on them

The second agreement is the Well Owner Agreement. This is an document you need to sign to get the benefit of the Well Protection Program. It basically summarizes the Master Agreement. Your individual agreement becomes part of the Master Agreement, and will be recorded also.

To join the Well Protection Program the legal owners of your property and well need to sign the Individual Well Owner Agreement, have your signature notarized, and send it back to Donna Stallings, United Sahuarita Well Owners at 17051 S. Alvernon, Sahuarita, Arizona  85629      If you have any questions please call Donna at 907  9333. She is a notary public.

Hugh Holub is available to answer any question you have. He will come out to your home if you desire. Please call Donna at  907  9333 to schedule a meting with Mr. Holub. You can also email Mr. Holub your questions at holaw@mindspring.com

 

SUMMARY OF WELL PROTECTION PROGRAM MASTER AGREEMENT

The Master Agreement for Well Protection that Rosemont Copper Company has signed establishes an area in which all wells are eligible to be part of the Well Protection Program.

The Well Protection Program has several parts.

PUMP INSURANCE

The first part is the Pump Insurance  (Section 5 ). Immediately upon a well owner signing the Well Owner Agreement, your well will have insurance so if your pump fails, it will be replaced at no cost to you. What is covered in the pump insurance program is:

            the water production pump and the pump column pipe, any electrical equipment directly connected to and functioning as the power source for the pump, the pump motor, the cable within the well bore, the column pipe, and the above ground items such as the sanitary seal (if disturbed by the repair), the bladder or hydropneumatic tank and miscellaneous above ground piping in the vicinity of the well head,

The pump insurance can be terminated if Rosemont does not get its permits to do its mine. The pump insurance is in effect until December 31, 2014 and can be extended if Rosemont is still trying to get its permit.  If Rosemont does get its permit, the pump insurance is in effect for the life of the mine, currently expected to be at least 20 years.

BASIC WELL SURVEY, ANALYSIS AND PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM

The second part of the Well Protection Program is called the Basic Well Survey, Analysis and Maintenance Program in Section 4 of the Master Agreement.

This part triggers when and if Rosemont gets its federal permits to do its mine. If Rosemont does not get its federal permits, then the rest of the Well Protection Program goes away. But if they get their permit, this and the rest of the Master Agreement go into effect.

The Well Survey process starts when Rosemont gets their federal permits. This involves a kind of health check on your well…how deep is it, where is your pump, what condition is you pump, and so on.  For any well that would be immediately affected once Rosemont starts pumping, your well will be repaired or replaced. The Well Survey program starts with the wells within ¼ mile of Rosemont’s wells, and moves outward a ¼ mile each year until all wells in the area have been surveyed.

WELL REPAIR, DEEPENING AND REPLACEMENT PROGRAM

The Well Repair. Deepening and Replacement Program at Section 6 of the Master Agreement is the heart of the Well Protection Program.

Our goal was no one in the impacted area would lose their water supply because Rosemont  put their wells in your neighborhood.

The Well Repair and Replacement program requires Rosemont to repair or replace every well that joins the program when the water table drops to within 50 feet of your current pump setting or the bottom of your casing.

The wells closest to the Rosemont wells will obviously be dealt with first. The wells farthest from Rosemont’s wells will follow. The impact of the projected pumping is not immediate over the entire area, nor the same over the entire area. The greatest impact is nearest to Rosemont’s wells. The impact diminishes the farther way from Rosemont wells.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

WHAT IF ROSEMONT SELLS THE WELLS   AND THE MINE TO THE CHINESE? Similar questions were asked throughout the negotiating process. We took the position that the Well Protection must apply no matter who ends up owning the mine. The Master Agreement is binding on all successors and assigns of Rosemont (Paragraph 13.1).  The Well Protection Program is a covenant on the land and wells and applies as long as water is pumped for mining uses regardless of who owns the wells. (Section 10).

There is also a provision in the Master Agreement giving the individual well owners the right to get an injunction and shut down the Rosemont wells if they breach the agreement (Paragraph 11.1)

United Sahuarita Well Owners has also requested that if the US Department of Agriculture, US Forest Service issues a permit to allow the mine to proceed, that permit be conditioned on the Well Protection Agreement being in effect.

WHAT IF ROSEMONT DOESN’T GET APPROVED? The pump insurance is in effect until December 31, 2014 . If Rosemont is not allowed to use the forest land, and they go away, the Well Protection program ends. If a permit is granted, even after the agreement is terminated assuming no permit, the agreement is reinstated.

I WANT TO REPLACE MY WELL ?  Your new well will be covered (Section 7).

I PLAN TO DRILL A NEW WELL . AM I COVERED? Only if you drill your new well within 2 years of the agreement starting (Paragraph 7.3)

WHAT IF ROSEMONT GETS PERMISSION TO PUMP MORE WATER? Then the area in which wells will be included will expand. (Paragraph 3.4). The area could shrink if Rosemont moves its well field away from the impacted area, but if you signed the Well Protection Agreement, your well is covered notwithstanding that.

HOW DEEP WILL MY REPLACEMENT WELL BE? Rosemont will have tyo drill a new well deep enough to be 100 feet below the water level predicted in 20 years…which takes into account not only Rosemont’s impact, but the general decline of the water table due to pumping by others?

IS ROSEMONT THE SOLE CAUSE OF MY WATER LEVEL DROPPING? No. There is over 80,000 acre feet of groundwater pumping each year in the area. Farmers Investment pumps around 30,000 acre feet a year, the Freeport mine pumps about 30,000 acre feet a year, the ASARCO mine pumps about 12,000 acre feet a year but buys some CAP water, the water companies serving Green Valley pump about 7,000 acre feet a year, and golf courses pump about 4,000 acre feet a year. You can get the exact numbers from ADWR. There is an additional 11,000 acre feet a year projected to be pumped for subdivision on state land, and another 15,000 acre feet a year for the Town of Sahaurita . The groundwater levels in the area are projected to drop significantly even if there was no Rosemont mine. The farms (FICO) and the other mines do NOT have to buy CAP water or recharge it in the area. They can legally continue to pump (between them) 60,000 acre feet a year. To put that in context: FICO will pump in 3 years the amount of groundwater Rosemont is allowed over 20 years. See copy of ADWR spreadsheet on Green Valley area pumping here.

WHAT IF I DON ’T AGREE WITH WHAT ROSEMONT WANTS TO DO TO REPLACE MY WELL ?  Section 8 of the Master Agreement provides for arbitration so you don’t have to hire a lawyer to resolve this.

WHERE DO I GET WATER IF MY WELL IS BEING REPAIRED?  Section 9 provides Rosemont will have to provide an emergency water supply. You may be eligible to get a storage tank.

WHAT’S THE LANGUAGE ABOUT WAIVING CLAIMS? Paragraph 1.5 has a provision where if you agree to the Well Protection Program, you waive any claim you might have to sue Rosemont for pumping groundwater. Under existing Arizona law, individual well owners do not have a right to any particular depth to groundwater, and the law saying someone who takes groundwater outside an Active Management Area is subject to damages has never been defined. Are the AMA damages to the state? Rosemont is recharging CAP water in the Tucson Active Management Area, and could arguably avoid a damage claim. The  Well Protection Program trades any damage claim you might have for the certainty that your well will be protected. If you sued Rosemont, what you would be seeking is the money to pay for replacing your well. By this agreement Rosemont has agreed to replace your well if they pump your existing well dry. So you are getting what you could get by suing Rosemont anyway without years of litigation.

WHAT ABOUT THE INTENDED BENEFICIARIES SECTION. Section 2 makes it clear this is an agreement between Rosemont and the neighboring well owners. No other group can claim any rights under this agreement.

WHAT’S THE HYDROLOGIC MODEL SECTION ABOUT?  That’s where we got Rosemont to do a hydrological impact study of their proposed pumping, and used it to define the benefit area for the Well Protection Program. There are 9 monitoring wells now in the area that will track the effects of Rosemont’s pumping, and the model will be adjusted as needed. We needed the hydrology study to see where Rosemont’s pumping could impact the neighboring wells.

WHAT HAPPENS TO ROSMEONT’S WELLS WHEN THEY ARE FINISHED MINING COPPER? Section 12 of the Master Agreement requires the Rosemont wells either be given to a utility or other entity serving water to the neighborhood, or the wells are shut down. They cannot be used to pump water to another mine or to urban development over in Sahuarita.

I AM ON A WELL SHARED WITH OTHER PEOPLE. WHAT DO I DO? We need the agreement for how your well is shared so we can make sure the right people sign the individual Well Owner Agreement. We absolutely will need the signature of the property owner on whose parcel the well is located. Maybe that will be sufficient. But if your well share agreement requires a majority of share owners to approve something, then we will need a majority of well share owners to sign.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO GET THE WELL PROTECTION?  The record owners of your property with the well on it need to sign the individual Well Owner Agreement attached. You will need to put your Pima County Assessor Tax Code Parcel number on the form, and whomever is officially on the title to your property MUST sign the agreement, and your signatures MUST be notarized. Donna Stallings is a Notary Public (907 9333). You also need to fill in your Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) Well Registration number. If your well is not registered with ADWR, call Donna and we will help you get your well registered. YOUR WELL MUST BE REGISTERED WITH ADWR TO PARTICIPATE IN THE WELL PROTECTION PROGRAM. 

Once you fill out and sign the individual Well Owner agreement, please return it to Donna Stallings, United Sahuarita Well Owners  17051 S. Alvernon, Sahuarita , Arizona 85629     .

I’VE GOT MORE QUESTIONS. WHO DO I TALK DO? Call Donna Stallings and she will set up a meeting with Hugh Holub, our attorney.  You can email him questions at holaw@mindspring.com

BACKGROUND PAPER ON LEGAL ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH
INDUSTRIAL USE PERMITS LIKE ROSEMONT GOT CLICK HERE.

 

 

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