Page 1 of 1

West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 20 2015 6:54 pm
by big_load
My last couple Supes trips left me wondering how much water is being pumped out of Pinto Creek by the mines and/or ranches? And how different would trail conditions be without it?

Last year I noticed the huge pipes and meters when I visited Haunted Canyon, and heard the rumble of machinery, which I took to be pumps buried nearby. After the big storm earlier this week, when most of the length of West Pinto was running heavily (along with every other drainage in the area), its last couple miles were dry, despite the many contributing side drainages and the large contributing surface area just upstream of the dry area.

I assume the alluvium in those last couple miles is incredibly deep, maybe even thousands of feet. However, under natural conditions I figure the water table would be high enough that such a storm would cause at least some surface flow. Instead, I didn't see even a noticeable increase in the size of surface puddles in that area. Is the water extraction large enough to keep make that alluvium an almost unfillable reservoir? Does water flow there in the monsoon? I guess it must, if trails were reconfigured due to flooding at Oak Flat in the recent past, but it probably less so than it naturally would.

Have you ever seen this stretch of creek in flow?

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 20 2015 7:21 pm
by joebartels
I don't get out that far enough to know. It'll be interesting to hear what others have to say or see what pans out over the next few months.

Not as steep but with huge catch basins: Tortilla & Boulder take quite a bit of rain to get flowing.
Rogers seems to be almost immediate.

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 20 2015 7:58 pm
by SuperstitionGuy
I believe the rumble of machinery that you hear in Haunted Canyon is the large mine dump trucks. Some moving ore and others the tailings. They operate almost 7/24 all year long.

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 20 2015 8:43 pm
by big_load
@SuperstitionGuy. That could be. Still, it must take some serious horsepower to move as much water as pipes that size could carry.

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 20 2015 8:58 pm
by azdesertfather
Just out there a few days ago, I think it was dry east of Oak Flat, running west of it.

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 20 2015 10:05 pm
by big_load
@azdesertfather I didn't notice how far west it stopped running.

When where you out there? A couple trucks were just leaving when I came in on Sunday. There were no vehicles when I came out Wednesday afternoon, although there looked to be one set of fresh tracks on the road.

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 20 2015 11:32 pm
by friendofThundergod
Oh it gets flowing east of Oak Flats trust me, that creek will push some water through there on occasion. I have seen it several times. However, you do bring up a good point about the mine and their water usage. I feel they are responsible for what seems to be the increasingly drier conditions every year in the Toney Ranch area.

http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=475022
http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=374960

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 21 2015 2:24 am
by big_load
@friendofThundergod
That certainly is a healthy flow!

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 21 2015 7:08 am
by MtnBart01
big_load wrote:@azdesertfather I didn't notice how far west it stopped running.

When where you out there? A couple trucks were just leaving when I came in on Sunday. There were no vehicles when I came out Wednesday afternoon, although there looked to be one set of fresh tracks on the road.

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 21 2015 5:54 pm
by azdesertfather

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 23 2015 12:11 pm
by RedRoxx44
The Carlotta mine, which appears almost idle at the moment, is operating pretty much in the creek bed of Pinto. They have a large diversion ditch created I guess to stop contaminants from getting in the stream bed. I could've been their trucks or pumps running that you heard.

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 24 2015 10:58 pm
by big_load
@RedRoxx44 That's interesting. From their corporate website (http://kghm.com/en/our-business/mining- ... nt/carlota):

Code: Select all

In Q4 2014 mining operations from the open pit ceased.  However, residual copper production continues at present utilizing surface and sub-surface leaching via injection wells.  Development of injection wells continues to extract economic copper from the solution inventory within heap leach pad.

Re: West Pinto Creek water extraction

Posted: Nov 24 2015 11:00 pm
by big_load
@RedRoxx44 That's interesting. From their corporate website (http://kghm.com/en/our-business/mining- ... nt/carlota):
In Q4 2014 mining operations from the open pit ceased. However, residual copper production continues at present utilizing surface and sub-surface leaching via injection wells. Development of injection wells continues to extract economic copper from the solution inventory within heap leach pad.