Water is the key to Arizona’s future. We now face a future water shortage that threatens our economy and quality of life.
The Verde River, the last living river in Arizona, is threatened by groundwater mining of the Big Chino aquifer.
Sullivan Lake. Headwaters of the Verde River
We pump far more groundwater than is recharged, our aquifers are being depleted, and family wells are going dry
The fundamental problem is our existing water law. The Arizona legislature has the authority to address these problems, but it has repeatedly failed to revisit and modernize the 1980 Groundwater Management Act. We need representatives who will support changes:
• Effectively monitor groundwater in and outside of active management areas.
• Adequately fund the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR).
• Require Active Management Areas to plan to achieve Safe Yield.
• Require all water providers to develop long-term water conservation plans.
• Authorize local Rural Management Areas to manage ground and surface water.
• Require ADWR to prevent further degradation of our rivers and springs.
We need to encourage regional cooperation and planning. There are many solutions remaining: water neutral development, improved wastewater recharge, low-water use crops, reduced landscape water use, and aggressive water conservation through a balance of education, incentives, and requirements. Importing expensive water should be the last priority.
For too long, water policy in Arizona has focused on managing an irreplaceable resource in the service of economic development; without regard for the common good. The Clean Slate for Democracy advocates for a transparent public water management policy developed by all water users.