Miles from Lake Havasu’s shores and beyond the borders of Lake Havasu City, water is a precious resource to residents of the Horizon Six Improvement District. As landowners petition to be included in the district, residents say there may not be water enough to go around.
Debate has been ongoing for the past several months before the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, who have heard arguments before and against a proposal to annex 18 new parcels of land into the Horizon Six Improvement District. At Monday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors, residents were uncertain as to whether the district’s water distribution system could support so many new properties.
Residents feel uninformed as county discussion progresses
Horizon Six residents Butch Ortiz and Mary Van Rooy also spoke on the issue at Monday’s meeting of the board of supervisors, each citing a lack of information as a sticking point in the discussion of annexation.
“I’m against giving my water rights away,” Ortiz said. “A lot of discussion has to be made before we make any decision like this. We have a lot of questions about annexation into the district.”
According to Van Rooy, the county and news media have done little to satisfy lingering questions in the possible addition of 18 new parcels to the district.
“No one’s explaining how many homes will really be built,” Van Rooy said. “Some people have not been telling us what we should know about our water system. It’s very unclear … I’d be in favor of a few new homes, but not in favor of hundreds of homes.”
System could support 18 properties, but could more be on the way?
The 18 parcels to be annexed into the district could, in theory, be subdivided into as many as 127 residential properties. Mohave County Engineering Manager Les Henry likened the idea to a “bait-and-switch,” and reassured residents that any subdividing of the properties would require a future discussion by the Board of Supervisors, preventing any unexpected or unwanted surprises for Horizon Six residents.
Horizon Six resident Chris Klug offered his opinion Monday at a public hearing on the matter.
“My main concern is the water situation involved in this,” Klug said. “We have a lack of knowledge about what is going on with the system. We’ve been told by the city and county engineers that we have problems with the system. We have inadequate pumps, bad hydrants, relief valves that are shot … we have all kinds of issues with the system and no solutions yet. There’s been no engineering and no studies done. We’re at a loss.”
According to Klug, Horizon Six residents lack information, without which he says residents will be unable to determine whether the district can support 18 additional properties.
“We have an issue with the annexation,” Klug said. “Our firefighting capacity has been depleted, according to Havasu’s fire chief. We have no adequate protection. With all the issues our system has, we don’t understand how 18 more parcels can be added.”
Water system will need renovation before annexation, residents say
According to Henry, the water system used by Horizon Six is more than 30 years old, and was designed only to accommodate flow regulations at that time, and a concentrated effort to improve the district’s water system has not been present. The water system, now sorely outdated and under-pressured, has become so dilapidated that the Lake Havasu City Fire Department withdrew from a contract to provide fire protection services this summer. Now fire hydrants throughout the district have been marked with red placards, indicating to fire officials and residents that those hydrants would be insufficient to meet the needs in protecting homes and property from fire.
Six leaks in the district’s water lines have been repaired this year, Henry said, and the cost of modernizing Horizon Six’s water distribution system could cost residents hundreds of thousands of dollars.
New owners may increase burden, but also lighten the load
According to Lake Havasu City Realtor Dennis Roberts, who supports the annexation, new property owners in the Horizon Six Improvement District would share the cost of improving the district’s water system.
“They’re not developers, they’re property owners,” Roberts said. “The math has to work. There’s enough water, and even if the system is in poor repair, it can be fixed. As members of the district (new owners) would be part of those repairs. You can’t be a member of the district and not be assessed fees for upgrades. We’ve met the minimum requirements, we will be members of the district and we will be participants in that system.”
According to Henry, 265 residential properties are connected to the district’s water system, which is allotted 152,000 gallons of water per day by the Arizona Department of Water Resources. New property owners would be required to pay for the installation of lines and connections into the district’s water system, and would be required to pay a $2,200 connection fee.
Although the system may be in need of service, new residents could be instrumental in lightening the Horizon Six community’s burden in enhancing its water supply.
The addition of 18 new parcels to Horizon Six would generate $39,000 in revenue for the district, Henry said. The district’s cash-on-hand for improvements was estimated to be $29,000 as of Monday.
Horizon Six issue could be decided in Havasu this month
This month, Lake Havasu City is scheduled to host its first meeting of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors since 2012. The meeting will be the first in the county’s newly reinstated policy of rotating meetings between Havasu, Kingman and Bullhead City each month.
On Monday, the Board of Supervisors voted to table further discussion of the potential annexation until Oct. 21, when the issue will see discussion and possible action at the Lake Havasu City Council Chambers.
District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson will visit the Horizon Six area to personally assess the property of note before the board’s next meeting.