4.5 Million Gallons a Day
Skipping the scenic beauty of the Southern Arizona desert, and in particular, Madera Canyon and the Santa Rita mountains (I have priceless memories), I will focus on water. Of course the experts are clear, but the general discourse in Southern Arizona appears dangerously out of touch with the gravity of its water situation. CAP only provided a temporary upward blip in the shrinking gap between supply and demand. The migration towards the Southwest shows no signs of abating meaning a continued growth in the number of faucets, dishwashers, and toilets, let alone commercial use of water. By the way, notice the trends in climate? How were this summer's monsoons? Remember what they were like in the 80s? Even without a new open pit copper mine at the base of Mt. Wrightson, Southern Arizona faces a huge water challenge.
An open pit copper mine typically consumes 10 to 20 thousand acre feet of water a year. Rosemont claims it will only consume 5 thousand acre feet a year. I doubt this, but even accepting their promise, we're looking at 4.5 million gallons PER DAY. Does Green Valley, Arizona strike you as a place with an extra 4.5 million gallons of water per day?
In terms of what's in the media regarding local elected officials and the Rosemont Mine, Congresswoman Giffords has shown the greatest awareness of the water implications. She raises the issue of water every time the mine is discussed and properly so. I wouldn't argue with Ray Carroll or Raul Grijalva that the mine stinks purely on the grounds of what it would be and where in a rare and precious place. There are not a lot of Madera Canyons. That said, I think environmental appreciation and love of nature will fail to defeat this mine. Those who really wish to keep this project from happening should listen to what Giffords is saying about water, about electricity, about transportation and operational infrastructure, about waste products and contaminants, and what all of this means for the region.
I devoted a lot of my heart and soul to an Arizona copper company. Then an Australian corporation took over. Ignoring the long term, for short term gain they shut the place down. Imagine their concern for the 2600 Arizona workers tossed in the street. Now a Canadian firm wants the copper at the foot of Arizona's tallest mountain south of Flagstaff. How much of the money generated by that copper stays in the region? Sure about that? Bulletproof sure? After ALL of the bills have been paid?
I am bulletproof sure that 4.5 million gallons of water per day won't fall from the sky over Madera Canyon for the next 20 years. Regarding staying in the region, I'm equally certain that the butt ugly hole in the ground won't be going anywhere.