Drawdown: An Update on Groundwater Mining on Black Mesa

Report
March 19, 2006

For more than 40 years, Peabody Western Coal Company has been draining billions of gallons of potable, pristine groundwater from an aquifer under the Black Mesa plateau in Arizona -- water that serves as the primary source of drinking water for the area's Hopi and Navajo residents. In 2000, NRDC published an assessment of the damage caused by this groundwater mining and determined that the Navajo aquifer showed signs of serious decline after years of pumping by Peabody. This 2006 update to the original report concludes that material damage is still present in Black Mesa and that the aquifer shows signs of continuing damage and deterioration. NRDC also considers the role of the federal government in addressing the damage and recommends actions that would help conserve Black Mesa's water supply.