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We have been eyeing property in and around Sierra vista area and 2 things stick out as problems and I would love to hear a boots on the ground report of what to expect. Our 2 big concerns are 1. Water, I read article after article about people running out of water because big farms are drilling super deep and taking all the water. I also worry about the cost of trying to drill that deep to get the water that is there. ( Is that why some land is so cheap? ) 2. Border problems we love the Tombstone area and would love to have a small ranch but really do not want to deal with illegal immigrants and all the problems that come with living so close to the border. For reference we live over 200 miles from the border in TX and still have illegal immigrants flooding in and committing crimes. So are these issues as bad as people say in this area or is this overblown? Also don't worry, if we do move there we vote very conservatively lol.
 

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Water is tricky, are you buying bare land with actual water rights? If you are you will need at least 1 Acre foot for just your house. Will you have culinary water right, agricultural or both, it makes a difference.
Do you have anyone local to the area that you trust to discuss the water needs in that area?
Drilling a well is not cheap you sound like you are looking at bare property, not in a subdivision with a community water supply.
Look out for A,B,OR C, classification water rights, you might only get water every second or third year.
It sounds to me that the local farmers/ranchers are drilling so deep because they have lost there water supply due to new local land sales from move-ins. This is what is happening in my local area. Water is deeper now than 30yrs ago and our local population has tripled and climbing.
Right now due to all the move-ins I can find over 500 new scraped off new lots in town at the same time local govt is crying about a water shortage.
Just stuff to think about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Water is tricky, are you buying bare land with actual water rights? If you are you will need at least 1 Acre foot for just your house. Will you have culinary water right, agricultural or both, it makes a difference.
Do you have anyone local to the area that you trust to discuss the water needs in that area?
Drilling a well is not cheap you sound like you are looking at bare property, not in a subdivision with a community water supply.
Look out for A,B,OR C, classification water rights, you might only get water every second or third year.
It sounds to me that the local farmers/ranchers are drilling so deep because they have lost there water supply due to new local land sales from move-ins. This is what is happening in my local area. Water is deeper now than 30yrs ago and our local population has tripled and climbing.
Right now due to all the move-ins I can find over 500 new scraped off new lots in town at the same time local govt is crying about a water shortage.
Just stuff to think about.
Yes that is what is making me apprehensive to move to this area. Sounds like its bad.
 

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Water is an issue that varies WAAY too much based on your region.

It is definitely something to know backwards and forwards if you own land.

I have been looking into it a lot lately for the land I am looking at.
 

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I cannot speak about the Sierra vista area as I live in the White Mountains of AZ. Here like almost everywhere in the western states, there is a huge number of new homes in some process of being built. Each has a well and each will use water. The water deep underground is incredibly slow to be replenished and in most cases the land just does not receive enough water to support the number of human occupants. Hence the underground water supply will decrease. The only question is when this will become critical. I rather doubt this question can be answered by anyone, though many can give their opinion.

Here where I live most of the land (like all of AZ) is owned by the government so new homes are limited as to where and how many can be built. I can only hope that this fact will prevent my well from going dry.
Good luck to you if you indeed move to the great state of Arizona.
 

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You can also set up rainwater collection. There's a youtube guy that shows what he did in the Bisbee area (I think).

The border issue is a big problem. I wouldn't buy in S Ariz because of it. I live in C AZ and have a cabin in N Arizona.
 

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Even in the same area water can be hit or miss. We are into the Coconino at our place (590 feet) while our neighbors are into surface water (100 feet). We have pretty much unlimited gpm (somewhere around 10) that I let run for 12hrs to flush the well with no drop in pressure but their water is better tasting albeit with VERY low gpm. We are actually going to drill a well into surface water for use in our house at some point.

Yet a few miles away I know a person that couldn't hit water on their property and gave up.
 
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Semper Fi
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You can also set up rainwater collection. There's a youtube guy that shows what he did in the Bisbee area (I think).

The border issue is a big problem. I wouldn't buy in S Ariz because of it. I live in C AZ and have a cabin in N Arizona.
You can NOT rely on rainwater as your sole source of water.
 

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Rainwater in SoAz can be done - if you have a large 'lot' (40 ac)

This guy is in the Benson area, just north of SV. Fully self-supplies with rainwater.

Brad Lancaster in Tucson does pretty good on an urbam lot'
and yeah, he is a 'hippy' - and pretty self-sufficient.

My brother was the water czar for the County there for a time. He won't move back - too many other problems besides water....

St David, close to SV, has water, but it also has issues related to long-time 'families' - don't cotton much to newbies....

There is also several other townsites in SoAz that might be of interest. Almost all have water issues. The land is really cheap. If you have the $$$ to go solar and large scale rainwater collection, it may be just the place.

It's a dry heat after all. I grew up in Tucson waaaay back in the day. The whole AO is lousy with transplants from uber liberal areas.

YMMV.
 

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The uncle of a friend of mine lives in Sunsites (40ish miles as the crow flies to the NE of Sierra Vista) and they have had roads buckle from ground subsidence due to the dropping water table.

He is looking into moving up to my area.
 

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Rainwater in SoAz can be done - if you have a large 'lot' (40 ac)

This guy is in the Benson area, just north of SV. Fully self-supplies with rainwater.

Brad Lancaster in Tucson does pretty good on an urbam lot'
and yeah, he is a 'hippy' - and pretty self-sufficient.

My brother was the water czar for the County there for a time. He won't move back - too many other problems besides water....

St David, close to SV, has water, but it also has issues related to long-time 'families' - don't cotton much to newbies....

There is also several other townsites in SoAz that might be of interest. Almost all have water issues. The land is really cheap. If you have the $$$ to go solar and large scale rainwater collection, it may be just the place.

It's a dry heat after all. I grew up in Tucson waaaay back in the day. The whole AO is lousy with transplants from uber liberal areas.

YMMV.
The KEY is "can work". The guy in your link states he gets 11"-12" of rain a year. Places with less rainfall (or even his area with a dry year) and you are looking at having to truck it in, Also if you are planning on animals or gardening your consumption goes way up.

From a survivalist viewpoint trying to live in the desert without a guaranteed source of water is foolhardy.
 

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The KEY is "can work". The guy in your link states he gets 11"-12" of rain a year. Places with less rainfall (or even his area with a dry year) and you are looking at having to truck it in, Also if you are planning on animals or gardening your consumption goes way up.

From a survivalist viewpoint trying to live in the desert without a guaranteed source of water is foolhardy.
(shrug)
This guy is making it work. He is not planting 100 acres of wheat however...

Just posted to show what folks are up in SoAz.

At least all he has to shovel off the drive in the winter is sunshine...
 

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When they close the golf courses, you can start to worry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah because we would have to live in Southern AZ we are going to cross it off the list. The water issue is real and unsustainable and I am really tired of dealing with the flood of illegals both in TX and AZ.
Time to find a new place to call home.
 

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Yeah because we would have to live in Southern AZ we are going to cross it off the list. The water issue is real and unsustainable and I am really tired of dealing with the flood of illegals both in TX and AZ.
Time to find a new place to call home.
Are you going to have to find work where you relocate to or are you retired/self-employed?

How small of a ranch are you talking about? Absent using feed, it takes roughly 40 acres to free range graze a cow out here in Arizona.
 

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If I move to the southwest (or anywhere really) I will be looking into rainwater collection. Not sure about AZ but I know in NM, like Taos, there is sufficient rainfall to make it viable if you have large enough storage.

I'd like to be entirely off grid at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Are you going to have to find work where you relocate to or are you retired/self-employed?

How small of a ranch are you talking about? Absent using feed, it takes roughly 40 acres to free range graze a cow out here in Arizona.
Self employed and a ranch would just be a hobby not trying to make a living just be able to feed my family if everything went bad.
 

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We have been eyeing property in and around Sierra vista area and 2 things stick out as problems and I would love to hear a boots on the ground report of what to expect. Our 2 big concerns are 1. Water, I read article after article about people running out of water because big farms are drilling super deep and taking all the water. I also worry about the cost of trying to drill that deep to get the water that is there. ( Is that why some land is so cheap? ) 2. Border problems we love the Tombstone area and would love to have a small ranch but really do not want to deal with illegal immigrants and all the problems that come with living so close to the border. For reference we live over 200 miles from the border in TX and still have illegal immigrants flooding in and committing crimes. So are these issues as bad as people say in this area or is this overblown? Also don't worry, if we do move there we vote very conservatively lol.
Hi, I DO live in the SV area (actually, about 17 mi SE of Ft. Huachuca and most of the wells in the area go down around 300-400 feet, into the aquifer itself. Rainwater harvesting is also actually encouraged here in AZ, unlike some states that either penalize or don't allow it. Land is usually pretty reasonable, and there are quite a few properties in the area that are FSBO, and already have wells put in and water rights grandfathered - many of them for sale by older folks who want to sell and move into "retirement" homes or assisted living facilities.

We haven't had any problems with the well other than the occasional power outage, but we're getting a solar backup solution for that.

As far as the illegal immigrant issues, we don't really have too many issues in the immediate area - probably because we have a LOT of LE presence living in our area - SV city cops, County deputies, a few State police, Border Patrol, and Arizona Rangers, so they keep it pretty well patrolled. Plus, our county Sheriff is VERY much "on the ball" as far as his department taking an active role in anti-smuggling (human and drug) operations.
 

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Self employed and a ranch would just be a hobby not trying to make a living just be able to feed my family if everything went bad.
How many head are you thinking of running? As at 40 acres per, you can do the math and figure the cost involved to buy the appropriate amount of land.

If you are just looking at a cow or two instead of a herd, there is a 121 acre place up here by me that has access to electricity. As my neighbor and I found out cows are MUCH more work than raising pigs and chickens.

If you want an actual herd then you might want to look into something in the midwest where the math is cows-per-acre instead of acres-per-cow. There was a guy running a small herd here who did just that, when he decided it was too much work and cost getting the land he needed.
 
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