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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials January 25, 2015

6/10/2013 6:02:00 AM
Editorial: Water report is a call to action

Environmental reports only begin with studied ideas that are put to paper. What happens after that is the real measure of commitment.

So, what will happen next, after the Sierra Club late last week released its report on the Upper Verde River's dire situation?

We encourage everyone in central Arizona interested in, well... water, to read the report, which you can find linked to our online news story that published Sunday. We've read it, and the results are as black and white as scientific surveys get.

Tireless volunteers, who have worked on the river's restoration activities every month for the last six years, say the Upper Verde's baseflow, which is dependent on groundwater, has declined 5 cubic feet per second over the past five years. And we're talking about a river flow that, in its most vulnerable spots, flows as low as 9 cubic feet per second currently.

The Upper Verde runs about 25 miles. For now.

This is serious stuff.

If the trend continues, says Steve Pawlowski, Arizona Water Sentinels Program Coordinator for the Sierra Club, "the Upper Verde River above Perkinsville could start drying up during the summer in as little as 10 years."

This goes way beyond water quality, although that's at issue also. If there's no water, quality is no longer the problem. If decreases in the river's baseflow continue, the numbers show that the very water itself is the endangered resource for a river that contains the longest stretch of continuous riparian habitat in all of Arizona.

Now that the evidence is in, it's up to us to take action. These trends are preventable.

Coordinating agency efforts is key, as is the state prioritizing the Arizona Department of Water Resources immediately.

All Arizona residents, too, are called upon. It's a little nutty that there's only a Water Awareness Month in Arizona, which presumes that the other 11 months are ripe for irresponsible landscaping. Personal responsibility is everything in this effort. If you're not sure how efficient your water usage is at your household, find out. Today.

The only thing simpler than recognizing why water is a critical natural resource is understanding when it is drying up before our eyes.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: @ David Kerr

I got your joke. Pretty funny.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

...all sizzle and no steak. Yeah it's like they say stuff like "if it's yellow let it mellow", "take a shower with a friend", or the classic "well make a cistern that catches the rain water off your roof and water your plants with it" Yeah that's gonna fix it allright! Then people are grossed out when you pee in your yard.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo is true- --

Until the 'no-growth after our growth' crowd realize that they are part of the problem- and until people realize that this is just what the earth does- the PDC or pacific decadal cycle ...look it up and learn, then this is all hat and no cattle, talk and no action, hand wringing and no singing, flap and no jack.

whether you are a developer or a conservationist... you are still on the wrong side of reality if you don't admit you are trying to slice the pie in your own favor.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

@ Protest Protest: OK I'll dumb it down for you: the problem is reduced rainfall combined with increasing population. It's not lawns, it's not golf courses. So the solution is either make it rain, or make people leave, or find more water down in the ground. If it were me I would force anyone who moved here within the last, say, 6 years to leave by a certain date or throw them in jail. I have no problem making a decision. The Dog and Pony Show Sierra club is all take and no action. Even their "call to action" had not a single idea on how to solve the problem. Embarrasing.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: David Kerr

The numbers we should know:
Per person water use for Prescott, PV and unincorporated areas of the county. Per person water use in Las Vegas, Tucson and Phoenix.

Percent water use in agriculture vs residential in the region Percent water use for golf courses and recreation. Percent water use to grow alfalfa. Percent water use to irrigate pastures.

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: We Need Growth

We need more houses and people so the school districts can collect more money for the kids. And the Sierra Club can recruit new members to complain about growth and the lack of water.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Common Senzi

Difference between grass on courthouse square and grass at the city golf course.

Grass on the courthouse square can be used by anybody for free.

For those who don't think golf courses suck ground water, ask the people in Hootenanny what happened to their water level after Talking Rock started pumping.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Protest Protest

@ Susan Chuka, @ Hooty Hoo @Roger Williams
@ Craig Arps

First, please...you are newbies to Arizona...1967? Please. Why did you not step up to the plate and do something about the conditions that you complain about?

Hooty...where in the hell did you escape from? Your incessant babbling of personal opinions based on no fact or logic is tiresome.

Williams, do you read and comprehend what you expound? Futile.

Arps This isn't about a political agenda, the human race needs water to sustain itself and you are at risk if you intend to pursue living in Arizona. No wonder Az. is in deep doo doo!

And you newbies wonder why long term Arizona folks don't want you in Arizona...ignorance is no excuse of the law...that theory applies to water useage. Go Home...all of you so we can save water, plain and simple.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Water policy or Tool for Exclu$ive Barrier$

The study looks to the upper Verde and avoids looking down river where the real problems and history of environmental degradation from gravel operations, mining, commercial and development diversions are found.

Hey, nice golf courses along the reaches of lower Verde!

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: timmeah timmeah

I am always amazed at the complete ignorance of the majority posting letters here and this thread is no exception! Logging went bye bye due to the clear cutting that the lumber companies used in the 50's, and 60's which wiped out not only the old growth, but the almost mature growth also. If you'd look around, you might notice that this isn't exactly prime area for regrowth. The timber companies did what they always do- move to the next area, be it the pacific northwest or southeast for cheaper pickin's.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Susan Cuka

I encourage anyone that would like to become self educated about the Verde River to take a hike down the river, starting at the head waters. The river is a disaster. Not from drought, which is an on going problem in our state, but from beavers! In areas, it is at a stand still, infested by mosquitoes. For years we have enjoyed riding our horses on the river, but now have serious concerns about desease from all the bugs. Being in the area since 1967, logging, trapping, and mining with management, did better use for our land, than the special interest groups. The Sierra Club has been our demise.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Craig Arps

The Sierra Club advocates having less people around as the solution to our water problems. Especially the little, poor, uneducated types who believe in the free market and private property rights.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

It's predictable. Those like Water Precious Water continue the age old hackneyed garb of "blame it on golf courses, blame it on the Courthouse Square doggie park (what?), blah blah". It's a draught dummy. You got any ideas how to cure that? It's not anything else. Dry up and go away.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Roger Williams

Of course the water level is low. We're in the middle of a 25 year drought, or something. So it figures water levels will be low. Short of doing a rain dance or something, there's not much to be done. Not sure what action the Sierra Club (Thanks for saving the spotted owl and killing the lumber industry in AZ.) expects us to do. We could give up showering, like many SC members seem to have done.

Roger Williams

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Water Precious Water

Having conserved water for over 70 years in Arizona and watching the influx of dummies that cared less about water useage, I had hoped that in my lifetime I would not see this happen. It was inevitable...It is here.

Golf courses, swimming pools, the Courthouse Square "doggie park" /tent sales every weekend in summer maintenance and water costs! Grass yards, gardens, non-native plants, etc. Sickening.

Thanks for all you do...it must seem futile. There are those of us that do care and are very careful about our useage of water.

When the waterwasters are drinking sand and can't sell their homes because life can't be sustained without water...perhaps then they will realize how precious it is to perserve the water supply. Too little, too late.

And yet, the City Council still wants to develop, and bring more people to suck the water supply. Go figure!

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Absolutely! Starting with our 100 year average of about 18 inches of rain and a little snow fall, that's not a lot of precipitation to sustain our hot to very hot temperatures. Note also, there has been documented that twice native tribes have left the area most likely for its lack of rain. Then look at the rise in population Arizona has experienced over the past 50 years. Can this growth continue? Can we improve our economy and therefor our schools and services without growth? Yes, if we make an effort to bring in sustainable industry that can provide employment for the thousands of craftsmen now out of work a lot in the home construction industry. That we can do without drying up the Verde River and putting everyone of emergency water restrictions. Contact Fann, Tobin and Pierce and let them know your thoughts. Also, local town officials who are in bed with development and the biggest users of water.

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