LB - Home Furnishings Direct 0519

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : regional May 26, 2016


1/21/2014 2:13:00 PM
Del Rio Springs expected to dry up by 2025

Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier


DEL RIO SPRINGS -- By state government estimates, the rare artesian springs that drew so many people to Del Rio over the eons will be gone by 2025.

The flow of the largest springs complex in the Prescott Active Management Area has dropped from about six cubic feet per second in 1935 to a current low flow of only 0.5 cfs, according to the Arizona Department of Water Resources, which predicted the springs will dry up by 2025.

"We're pretty much right on track" to dry up the springs in 2025, said Walt Anderson, a Natural History professor from Prescott College, during a recent public tour of the springs.

"It's probably hopeless," said local geologist Ed Wolfe, another tour guide.

Arizona water law does not recognize the connection between groundwater and surface water, and residential wells continue to proliferate without restrictions. Tour leaders expressed hopes that the current Del Rio owners will try to preserve the springs' ecological values and avoid building around them.

The local Highlands Center for Natural History organized the November tour to explore the historical and ecological values of Del Rio Springs on the sesquicentennial of the arrival of Anglo residents.

"We're visiting a site of great historical significance," Anderson noted. "It's one of a kind, really."

The first Del Rio residents described a stream flowing north from the springs to the Upper Verde River. They named it Cienega Creek.

By the time she was growing up at the Del Rio Ranch in the 1930s and 1940s, there was no creek except during flooding events, Mary Converse Hardin said.

She recalled how water gushed out of the ground when her father drilled a new well just west of Highway 89. It immediately lowered the water table and the neighbors had to get pumps, she said.

The Del Rio Springs are now at 10 percent of their pre-settlement production, said Gary Beverly, who also helped lead the November tour. He is Education Committee chair of the local Citizens Water Advocacy Group and chair of the local chapter of the Sierra Club, as well as a long-time Chino Valley resident.

CWAG has been involved in several tours over the past year to honor the sesquicentennial and use the Del Rio Springs as an example of what could happen elsewhere if the Prescott Active Management Area continues to deplete its groundwater supplies.

"The natural springs here are living on borrowed time," Beverly said. "This is an opportunity with the 150th anniversary to call attention to the watershed as a whole," as well as the "clear and present danger to the Upper Verde River." The upper river's baseflow depends entirely on groundwater resources.

Tour participants saw a wide variety of birds that depend on the springs, while Anderson deftly named each one as it flew or perched nearby - a Northern Harrier, Red-winged Blackbirds, Wilson's Snipe, Red-naped Sapsucker, Marsh Wren, American Robins, White-crowned Sparrows and Red-tailed Hawk. A pair of bald eagles nest in one of the trees each year.

Ninety percent of Arizona's wetlands are gone because of human development, Anderson noted.

And many rural residents of the Prescott Active Management Area (AMA) are seeing their wells drop, including him, Beverly noted.

The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) released a new report Tuesday called "Arizona's Next Century: A Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability."

The report notes that residential wells in the northern Chino Valley area have dropped an average of 20-30 feet since 1994 because of groundwater pumping, including the City of Prescott's Chino Valley well fields.

ADWR recently released a draft of its 4th Management Plan for the 385-square-mile Prescott AMA that includes Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley. It's supposed to guide the region toward sustainable groundwater use during the years 2010-2020 but likely won't be implemented until 2016 or 2017 because of staff shortages, ADWR director of AMAs Jeff Tannler said last year.

A table in the new draft plan shows annual Prescott AMA groundwater depletions during 21 of the last 28 years, with depletions increasing in recent years.

State officials said the AMA cannot reach safe yield without importing water. Prescott and PV have long-standing plans to import water from the neighboring Big Chino Aquifer, but that has caused concerns from others because scientists say the Big Chino provides at least 80 percent of the baseflow for the Upper Verde River.

Coincidentally, ADWR has set a goal of "safe yield," or an end to the Prescott AMA groundwater depletions, by 2025 - the same year ADWR expects the Del Rio Springs to dry up.

Follow Joanna Dodder on Twitter @joannadodder

Taylor Waste

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Police soon will have one more reason to pull you over (4750 views)

•   What's hot in Verde Valley job market? (2956 views)

•   Cornville man charged with child molestation seeks plea (2875 views)

•   Marana man suffers skull injury, brain bleed following ATV crash (2737 views)

•   Motorcycle rider suffers head injuries in crash (2195 views)





Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Father Son Look a Like Contest
HSE - Readers Choice 300x100
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast





Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - RoomStore 0503

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, verdenews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved