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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions May 28, 2016

1/25/2014 2:51:00 PM
Letter: Lawmakers must look at groundwater/surface water connection


ADWRs acknowledgement that Del Rio Springs will probably go dry by 2025 is indeed a tragedy, but it is certainly no surprise to anyone who has studied the long term and not so long term water use in the Verde River Basin.

Ed Wolfe, a long-time student of water in the area, believes that it is probably hopeless for Del Rio Springs. Gary Beverly, another student of water in the Verde River Basin says that the flow from the Springs is 10 percent of its pre-settlement flow. The article also pointed out that Arizona has lost 90 percent of the wetlands it once had. Wetlands are critical to the survival of many species that directly depend on them for survival, as well as species that depend on them for part of their lifecycle.

Arizona water law that does not recognize the link between groundwater and surface water is in part responsible for this. The population increase and subsequent increase in private wells also contribute to this problem. Add to that the extended drought that Arizona is currently in and potential effects of climate change you have a serious problem.

How many more surface water sites like the Verde River and other wetlands have to dry up before Arizona's lawmakers reexamine the groundwater/surface water relationship? How many more surface water sites will we lose before we manage population growth and act as if we realize that water is a critical, finite and scarce resource in Arizona?

Chris Jensen


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Article comment by: Managed Growth

Water comes and goes without human impact if we look at a long enough block of time. Our area has been through several long term droughts, migrations in and migrations out. The fact that a
spring will be dry in a decade or so does not mean we need to build a fence, keep new comers out or force everyone to use one government owned and controlled water source.

What good is a flowing river, springs etc. if there are no people here to wisely use it and enjoy it?

All I see is build up to government control of all water sources, including wells. When that happens, if I'm still here, I'll sue for making my property worthless and leave. Can't farm without water.

Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014
Article comment by: Tweetie Byrd

One of the problems I see is that lawmakers, for the most part, believe "growth drives prosperity", as "itsy" says. They prefer to ignore the fact that surface and groundwater resources are being depleted because short term prosperity is more important to them than long term sustainability. I doubt that they care about extreme increase in costs of water over time, as well as eventually drying up the river, and replacing it with an effluent stream. As long as it doesn't happen in their lifetimes, and they get credit for bringing economic prosperity now, nothing is going to change. I doubt the economy will be too good when water bills are $500 per month and there are no trees for shade. There are better ways to grow than increasing the population to the point it depletes the water.

Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2014
Article comment by: itsy bitsy Spider

Let's keep religion out of this, Mr. Jensen. People don't need to believe in the power of hockystick graphs to grasp that groundwater, surface water, weather cycles, and human migrations are all interconnected.

As I see it, the problem's that human migrations are the only factor over which humans can exercise much control, and to a point, population growth drives prosperity. How would you go about talking lawmakers into addressing issues sure to antagonize local governments, which depend on prosperity to provide adequate local services?

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