What does water conservation have to do with saving the Granite Dells or the Granite Dells Regional Park & Preserve?
Everything! Water fills our rivers, lakes, and reservoirs for recreation, sustains wildlife and valuable riparian landscapes like the Granite Creek corridor, and connects us to the Verde River—our common life thread throughout all of the Yavapai County region.
Water keeps us alive, flows through our communities, and fills up our glasses. It’s the limiting factor for new growth and development. Water is essential to every aspect of life, and as our most precious resource a secure water future is imperative to a secure community future for Prescott and the surrounding area for generations to come.
The Water Problem—Threats to a Secure Water Future in the Quad Cities Area
Water experts have been sounding the alarm on an imperiled water supply for decades, and it’s time we got serious about addressing the crisis before it’s too late. The following issues pose significant threats to a sustainable and secure water future for the Quad Cities area and beyond:
Water Consumption Outpaces Recharge—Decades of overdraft of the Prescott Active Management Area (AMA) and failure to meet sustainable yield are translating into visible long-term impacts. Hundreds of family wells have gone dry on the edges of the aquifer, Del Rio Springs is now less than 10% of its original flow, and six miles of the upper Verde River are now dry.
Local Leadership Doesn’t Acknowledge the Need for Proactive Intervention—Prominent community voices and decision-makers continue to assert that they are acting within legal bounds by relying on unsustainable “paper water”—the piece of paper that says how much water someone has the legal right to use, but which might not be sustainable—to make policy decisions and accelerate growth. They do not appear to consider the reality that our aquifers have the largest overdraft percentage in Arizona. In general, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, and Yavapai County all have weak water conservation programs. While Prescott has better conservation measures that focus on individual and household actions, none of the cities in the Prescott Active Management Area (AMA) are examining the relationship between continuous growth and water consumption. This cannot go on forever!
Proposed Use of Big Chino Groundwater Threatens Verde River—Tapping into the precious Big Chino Valley groundwater without effective mitigation will devastate the Verde River. This will mean a massive loss of endangered wildlife from the headwaters near Paulden to Perkinsville bridge, as well as the degradation of the flow through the Verde Valley down to the confluence with the Salt River.
Long-term Drought--Severe drought conditions persist here and in the greater Southwest region as a whole, straining even the most desert-adapted ecosystems and human infrastructure. Our forests are now suffering a massive regional die-off of Juniper and Pinyon Pine.
The Water Solution—Acknowledging & Avoiding a Potential Future Water Crisis”
Water experts widely agree that in addition to individual measures for water conservation, there must be structural and regional actions taken as well. The following solutions have been proposed to begin addressing the most urgent aspects of the water crisis:
Foster regional cooperation across Yavapai County to create a coordinated and sustainable water resource management plan.
Limit growth and additional water users according to the volume needed to attain sustainable yield.
Prohibit groundwater use for landscape irrigation.
Refuse water service without annexation in future subdivisions of any size.
Require all new subdivisions to be groundwater neutral, that is zero net groundwater consumption.
Learn more about our water and what you can do to help at the website below. The Citizens Water Advocacy Group is the leading expert group on local and regional water issues.