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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials April 29, 2016

3/19/2013 1:09:00 PM
Editorial: WAC dividing to unite is a fragile final strategy

It seems counterintuitive to split a commission in order to gain more agreement.

That is what is being proposed for the Water Advisory Committee, something members will discuss further today.

The WAC, as helpful as it has been to the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors from its inception, has been teetering on dissolution for a while now. The main problem is - surprise - the disagreement between the Verde Valley side and the Prescott side about running a USGS computer model of the Big Chino Aquifer.

As a last-ditch effort to keep WAC afloat, they may divide the committee into subgroups - Verde and Prescott - to meet monthly on their own about their own issues and only coming together to talk about stuff they don’t have conflict over.

It is too bad the communication on such vital issues must be so watered down. The Verde region already knows how it feels about the model. So does the Prescott region. A split would find members preaching to the choir on the big stuff, which does not sound productive.

Tom O’Halleran, chairman of the Verde River Basin Partnership, has already warned us that our water resource “cannot be managed in a fragmented process.”

However, if splitting the WAC is necessary for its survival, this may actually be the only solution for the moment. It may take time apart for discussions within the subgroups to mature enough to actually be of benefit to both sides of Mingus Mountain.

Stubbornness and politics have brought about a ridiculous standoff over the county’s single biggest issue - water. If the distrust is so deep, the sides cannot even talk to each other in more sophisticated fashion, a trial separation does sound like the only viable healing solution.

Building consensus is hard. It is much easier to turn and walk away. Splitting the WAC may make it more difficult to bring it back together on issues of any substance.

After all that has transpired, though, the strategy could be the WAC’s last avenue. And that is too bad.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

A good history of the issues:


Will this ever be resolved without local warfare?

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: Moving Ahead

I agree with "Unfortunate and Irresponsible". It is unconscionable that the cities and towns in the Prescott area won't run the USGS model and responsibly plan for our water future.

I, for one, am thankful for the split. The Verde Valley cities and towns can come together and move forward. I'm sure the model will shed light on changes that need to be made here, too, but at least our cities and towns aren't afraid to deal with the science and move forward.

Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: Unfortunate and irresponsible

It's amazing to me that the people of Prescott and Prescott Valley do not put more political pressure on their elected leaders to run the USGS model and responsibly plan for our water future.

If the County is so dysfunctional that it cannot run this bought and paid for USGS model, the gold standard of science, then citizens who care about protecting the Verde River should look to other groups and organizations who are willing and able to do the right thing: responsibly plan for our water future.

Key among these is the congressionally-authorized Verde River Basin Partnership.

Those of us who care about the river should continue to work toward running the model and formulating responsible solutions.

Let Prescott and Prescott Valley stubbornly stick their heads in the sand if that's what they choose to do.

Let everyone else use science to show what will really happen, and then have a reasonable basis to come up with some better ideas.

Maybe this approach will help persuade P/PV to take their responsibilities more seriously.

Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Article comment by: Roger Korn

This is the whole conflict: can Prescott area development be restricted by lack of water, even though there is water flowing in the Verde River?

To not "run" the USGS model because the Prescott area interests fear the result is absurd.

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