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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : letters May 29, 2016

1/3/2013 1:07:00 PM
Letter: Get proactive in water management


At the dawn of civilization mankind realized that management of their water resources was essential. Without management, water for crops could be insufficient or wasted. They lacked knowledge of the interconnection between sources of their water - rain, springs and streams, wells. So the king typically told his subjects that he, along with the priests and the people’s participation in ceremonies, would control the water. We could call this faith-based water management. When it failed the king often lost his head.

Today we have the capability to use science-based water management. We understand that surface water can be diminished or dried up completely by groundwater pumping and indeed much of Arizona’s riparian area has been lost in this manner. We also have developed tools that allow us to predict if or how soon our surface water will be affected by groundwater pumping. The most important of these tools are the United States Geological Survey’s groundwater-flow models. They have been used successfully throughout the Arizona and the U.S. to identify water availability and projected rates of surface water depletion.

Yavapai County has chosen not to use the U.S.G.S. groundwater-flow model for the Verde River watershed and adjacent basins. What are we waiting for? Funds are available to run the model. The time for proactive management is now, not when our surface waters are already impacted driving down property values and degrading our quality of life. Besides, how will we know whom to behead?

Bob Rothrock


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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2013
Article comment by: Tweetie Byrd

I agree with the "managing growth" comment. It's time to put the silly "if you don't grow, you die" myth to rest. In an arid place with limited water, it should be "if you keep growing beyond your limits, you die". Communities do just fine staying within a certain population, give or take a few. It's all a matter of having what you need.

Posted: Friday, January 4, 2013
Article comment by: get proactive with growth management

Agreed, running the model is an important aspect of being proactive about water management.

But water management is only half the equation.

The other half is perhaps more important: Responsibly planning our future population growth and resulting water demand in the first place, so future generations can live in security knowing we have not put them into an unsustainable water situation where they are exceeding the carrying capacity of our aquifer.

This is the situation Prescott and Prescott Valley are already in. This is why they are spending tens of millions to pump water from the Big Chino which will potentially dry up the Verde River.

We have no Big Chino in the Verde Valley. So it's imperative we plan responsibly for future growth and live within our means.

Imagine that, managing future growth to actually live within our water means. What a novel idea.

We ignore that at our own and future generation's peril.

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