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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials May 26, 2016

1/19/2013 5:48:00 PM
Editorial: Marriage of river advocacy groups has to be viewed as a healthy move

There is no shortage of opinions in the Verde Valley on how the Verde River should be managed.

At one time, there were 17 different river and water advocacy groups in Yavapai County, all with their own agenda on how to manage and protect the Verde River. The approaches of these various groups often were in direct conflict with one another. If nothing else, we have so many different people espousing on how to protect the river that a lot of us simply do not know who to believe.

After all these years of focusing so much attention on what's best for the Verde, we've become a lot better at talking about protecting the river than we are at protecting it. One long-time river shareholder recently commented that he believes the Upper Verde is as unhealthy, stagnant and choked with vegetation as it has ever been.

That being said, our hat goes off to the Verde Watershed Association and Verde River Basin Partnership for coming together as one organization. The two groups have combined their missions under the single banner of VRBP. The two groups are moving forward with a one-year trial marriage, so let's hope for the best that this partnership survives and helps to clear the muddy waters of what is the best for the river.

Meanwhile, the members of the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee are planning an all-day retreat to talk about the future of their group. Earlier, the Prescott and Prescott Valley city councils announced they are considering leaving the 14-year-old organization that was created to foster better relations between the Verde Valley and Prescott area. The talk of a split should come as no surprise, as the two sides have always been at odds over the prospect of the Prescott area communities tapping into aquifers the Verde folks contend will have a detrimental impact on the Verde River. The Prescott folks have responded in kind that when the Verde Valley gets a better handle on its own river management practices, especially as it applies to agriculture diversion ditches, then perhaps the Verde voice would have some credibility on the other side of the mountain.

Such is the contentious nature of any discussion involving water.

Those sentiments were summed up best years ago with the following phrase: "Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over."

That phrase is most often attributed to Mark Twain.

Not so surprisingly, given the subject matter, there is considerable debate about whether Mark Twain ever said those words.

Related Stories:
• Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee to discuss its future

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Article comment by: Win Hjalmarson

As a matter of reality, I wonder what’s been accomplished by combining the VWA and VRBP missions under the single banner of VRBP. It's my understanding that both groups were founded on the principle that water issues are best solved when watershed communities work together. The VWA has, or had for many years, a working relation among watershed communities but the VRBP was unable to prevent Prescott and Prescott Valley from leaving the VRBP. For all practical purposes, because Prescott Valley left shortly after the VRBP was formed, the VRBP never has been a basin-wide partnership. Also, On Jan. 15, 2013 the chair (not empty like Clint’s Obama chair) of the VRBP said in this newspaper “Progress on the Verde River comes only through working together.” I'm sure we can pop open a Steve Ayer’s home brew on that comment. However, because Prescott and Prescott Valley are missing from the brew, can this marriage truely be consumated or will there be a disappointed bride?

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Article comment by: When the water is gone... We all get to move on

I hope the news media and public are invited to
this meeting/retreat...after all public decisions
are being made.

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