Collaborative effort results in successful resolution of prison water outage

The collaboration of public and private entities resulted in the successful restoration of the water supply to the state prison in Douglas, following an outage late Friday afternoon.

Cochise County Administrator Ed Gilligan praised the efforts of the organization’s staff, local businesses, volunteers, and regional and state agencies who stepped up swiftly to resolve the issue. The County provides water to the prison via a well located on the adjacent Bisbee Douglas International Airport.

At the regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors on June 11, Gilligan said the County appreciated the assistance it received from KE&G Construction, which carried out trenching and repair work when the system lost pressure due to a drop in the well’s water level. It was subsequently discovered a leak in the water main had caused the level to fall, and this was repaired by KE&G on Monday evening.

Former County facilities employee Hal Harris donated his time and knowledge of the water system to help troubleshoot the issue and was vital in locating the leak.

“We really appreciate his dedication and initiative to help solve the problem,” Gilligan said, adding D&M Well Services also responded quickly. The company dug the well a further 150 feet and provided support throughout the outage.

Facilities Director Joe Casey added, “We would also like to thank the City of Douglas, which provided water points to give the prison a temporary water supply, and APS had a crew on site within a day to begin installation of power needed to bring a second well on-line.”

During the three days the issue was being worked on, the County’s Office of Emergency Services coordinated efforts to ensure the prison received water to maintain a safe and sanitary environment.

The following agencies and organizations were instrumental in providing support:

  • Graham County Office of Emergency Services provided a 6,000-gallon potable water tender.
  • Curfman Showers and Potable Water, and Sundance Fire Department, provided potable water trucks to supply the prison with water for drinking and sanitation.
  • Kary Environmental Services provided technical assistance in accessing and assessing the status of the water tower.
  • Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs provided coordination and information sharing with state agencies.
  • Arizona Water Company (Bisbee) provided a fresh water supply for tanker truck filling.
  • Walmart (Douglas) provided bottled drinking water.
  • Arizona Department of Environmental quality provided water monitoring and technical assistance.
  • Rain for Rent provided potable water storage tanks.

The County would also like to thank the Arizona Department of Corrections for helping to coordinate efforts and working with the County as repairs were ongoing.

Supervisor Ann English, whose District includes BDI Airport and the prison, said, “I don’t think the situation could have been handled any better. Everyone came to the table to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and I would like to add my thanks and appreciation to everyone involved.”


Cochise County provides regional leadership and effective, high-quality services with personal and professional integrity. Located in the southeast corner of Arizona, Cochise County has natural beauty, world famous history, and a fascinating culture. Covering 6,219 square miles, and with a population of approximately 130,000 people, the County provides vital services to the unincorporated areas of the region. It is home to a diverse range of incorporated cities, including Sierra Vista, Bisbee, Benson, Douglas, Tombstone, Willcox, and Huachuca City. Visit for more information.

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