CWAG writes a monthly Op-Ed column in the Prescott Courier. Here’s the full archive.

OP-ED COLUMNS Files

10-25-14 Officials should evaluate water alternatives

Citizens deserve a sustainable water future, including protection of our environment. Our officials need to come together and thoroughly evaluate and publicly discuss the alternatives described in the CYHWRMS report, including the effect of a no-action alternative. They then need to determine which, if any, alternatives should be further evaluated in a BOR Feasibility Level Study.

To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published October 25, 2014.

09-06-14 Conservation - We can and must do more

Conservation is the least expensive way to stretch tight water supplies, plus it is widely supported by citizens. When you have a problem, common sense says, "First, don't make it worse." Conservation can extend our water supply, reduce the size and cost of importation projects, help protect the Verde River, and provide citizens a role in addressing our water problem. 

To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published September 6, 2014.

08-16-14 Should state help fix local water issues?

 

Arizona faces challenging water issues as we continue to increase in population, with concurrent increase in water demand. In the Prescott and Verde Valley regions, the Central Yavapai Highlands Water Resources Management Study has calculated the need for a large quantity of water to meet growth demand out to the year 2050, with even more needed to achieve safe yield for our aquifer and to protect the Verde River.

Projects, such as Big Chino or Colorado River pipelines and desalination of ocean water, which have been mentioned as potential sources for those large-quantity needs, would be challenging both to finance and to administer. Although the burden of meeting that demand ultimately rests with the local water providers, we need to consider areas where the state can or should provide assistance. 

To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published August 16, 2014.

07-18-14 What you can do about the water crisis

"What can we do to help?" That's often the first question asked when CWAG speaks to a local club or organization. 

It's a logical question because most people know that the policy-level actions that must be taken to both maximize our current water supply and guarantee a sustainable water future are the responsibility of elected officials in state, county and local governments.

But there are at least three basic things citizens can do to help: (1) learn about our water problems, as well as the solutions currently under consideration; (2) conserve water, both indoors and out; (3) vote for political candidates who understand our water issues and offer responsible solutions.

To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published July 18, 2014.

06-15-14 County water group protects, informs

 There have been many water groups and committees over the years, government and private and mixtures of the two. The most recognized of these is the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee (WAC), which advises the Board of Supervisors. Recently the value, and thus the future, of the WAC has been called into question. CWAG believes the WAC has made important contributions and is worth the annual cost of approximately $1 per resident. This column explains why.

To learn more, view a pdf  of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published June 15, 2014.

05-27-14 Where will we find more water?

 

The Little Chino Aquifer that underlies much of the tri-cities area took thousands of years to fill. We are now mining groundwater so intensely that the water level drops about two feet per year. Some private wells at the edges of the aquifer are already dry, a problem that will accelerate as we grow. 

To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published May 27, 2014.

04-29-14 Our water budget is out of balance

 

With California reeling from damaging water shortages in the Central Valley and more than a decade of drought in the arid Southwest, it’s a good time to think about our budgets – not only financial accounts, but “water budgets.” A water budget is simply an accounting of water resources, the amount entering and leaving, and stored in, a drainage basin (watershed) or aquifer. Water budget estimates can provide holistic views of water resources for an area like the Verde River and its tributaries, a remarkable aquatic habitat and riparian gem in Arizona.

To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published April 29, 2014.

04-05-14 Take steps to reduce outdoor water use

 Starting in 2008, we Prescottonians have reduced our water use every year. We've done a great job of conserving indoors by replacing old water-guzzling fixtures and appliances, fixing leaky toilets, taking shorter showers, using dishwashers instead of running water while we hand-wash the dishes, and turning off the tap while we shave and brush our teeth. 

When it comes to shrinking our outdoor use, we need to do more. 

To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published April 5, 2014.

02-16-14 Learn to conserve now before it's too late

 Conservation of water is the cheapest, most ecologically sound way to address many of our water concerns. We need to change our community "water ethic" and use less, recycle what we use and help our scant rainfall make its way back to the aquifer. Water conservation is a practical and responsible way everyone can contribute towards a more sustainable water supply.

 To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published February 16, 2014.

01-07-14 What every citizen should know about water

 In 2014, our political decision-makers will take important steps toward assuring (or not) our water future and the continuing life of our rivers and streams. We hear the various pertinent entities plea for citizen involvement. Without citizen participation and oversight, special interests - such as the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona and Arizona Association of Realtors - will provide the only input on the critical water decisions that affect all of us. Following are some things every citizen should know. 

 To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published January 7, 2014.

11-16-13 AZ Water Law Does Not Protect Rivers

Arizona Water Law fails to protect our rivers and springs. The San Pedro and the Verde are especially threatened.

To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published October 21, 2013.

10-21-13 ADWR's 4MP should ask more of communities

 The Arizona Groundwater Management Code, established in 1980, requires the Department of Water Resources (ADWR) to issue decadal management plans for each of the state's five groundwater Active Management Areas. On July 31, ADWR unveiled a draft of the Fourth Management Plan (4MP) for the Prescott Active Management Area (PrAMA), which is the aquifer system for our water supply. 

 

 To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published October 21, 2013.

10-05-13 150th anniversary of Del Rio Springs

 In fall 1863, the U.S. Army established a fort at Del Rio Springs, near the present Highway 89 between Chino Valley and Paulden, to protect Prescott area miners and settlers from Indian conflicts. This year, in recognition of the importance of Del Rio Springs to our local history and economic development, several local community organizations are celebrating the sesquicentennial of the fort with a series of field tours and public events extending through Spring 2014. See the events calendar at www.cwagaz.org. 

 To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published October 5, 2013.

06-29-13 Prescott's hidden million-dollar subsidy

 At a Prescott City Council meeting in May, many council members indicated concern, frustration and even outrage at continuing city subsidies for the Antelope Hills Golf Courses. Since then, many Letters to the Editor and commenters at dcourier.com have debated the pros and cons of golf course subsidies from the city's general fund (about $240,000 this year). However, at no time has a much larger city subsidy been mentioned - an over $1 million hidden city subsidy to Antelope Hills.

 To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published June 29, 2013.

06-02-13 Water running out - and so is time

Citizens will not embrace a water ethic unless everyone in the community of stakeholders is on board, all of us in the boat, rowing as a team. A water ethic cannot be defined solely by science or law or economics. To be effective, the definition must include our beliefs, our motivations and, above all, our collective values. The Citizens Water Advocacy Group, the Verde River Basin Partnership and other water-focused organizations have begun to do this work but we need more voices at the table. We need you. To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Daily Courier, published June 2, 2013.

05-04-13 Pumping's impact on Verde undeniable

 A new report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows beyond question that pumping of groundwater in both the upper Verde River watershed, which is above the Paulden streamgage, and in the Verde Valley has caused and will continue to cause depletion of the Verde River's base flow far into the future. To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's column in  the Prescott Daily Courier, published May 4, 2013.

04-07-13 10 reasons to protect the Verde River

The Verde River is a green artery pulsing through the heart of Arizona, a jewel of the Southwest. There are 10 reasons we should protect the Verde. To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in  the Camp Verde Bugle, published April 7, 2013.

03-02-13 Current Residents May Pay All Big Chino Pipeline Costs

Until now, Prescott water customers have been paying 20 percent of the city's share of the costs for the Big Chino Project (BCP), including yearly bond payments to cover the $23 million purchase of the water ranch property. But there is a real possibility that starting next year our share will be 100 percent. To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in  the Prescott Daily Courier, published March 3, 2013.

12-08-12 Big Chino pipeline--Who pays, and when do we vote

With Prescott committing to fund Big Chino Project (BCP) groundwater monitoring, important questions have come to the fore: who is paying for the project, does Proposition 401 require a public vote and, if so, at what point. To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in  the Prescott Daily Courier, published December 8, 2012.

11-16-12 CWAG Celebrates 10 Years

CWAG is 10 years old, and we're still going strong - working to protect the Verde River and our local groundwater. To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Courier, published November 16, 2012.

10-7-12 Del Rio Springs in Decline

Del Rio Springs now produces only a fourth of its original flow. Arizona Department of Water Resources groundwater models estimate that the springs will be completely dry by 2025. To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Courier, published October 7, 2012.

08-06-12 Water Is an Important Election Issue

Due to our continuing depletion of groundwater, our regional economy and quality of life are threatened. Our county supervisors must act to safeguard our water supply and water-dependent natural resources. To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Courier, published August 6, 2012.

06-22-12 Safe Yield Elusive

Thirteen years after the Prescott AMA was declared out of safe yield, the overdraft has grown. To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Courier, published June 22, 2012.

05-04-12 Effluent is no longer wastewater

Treated effluent is a valuable water resource, not a waste to discard or give away. To learn more, view a pdf of CWAG's monthly column in the Prescott Courier, published May 4, 2012.

02-11-12 Arizona water law needs fixin

Arizona water law rests on a foundation of state and federal court decisions dating from before statehood, the 1980 Groundwater Management Act (GMA), and the 1993 Groundwater Transportation Act. Together, these laws and decisions guide the use of our state water resources: surface water, groundwater, and effluent. Although the GMA was initially recognized as the most progressive groundwater law in the western United States, after 31 years many flaws are apparent - too many for one essay to explore. Lets start with groundwater. View document.

01-18-11 Protect our aquifer from contaminants

On Nov. 13, the Citizens Water Advocacy Group and the Verde Watershed Association hosted an all-day forum in Prescott, "Wastewater Recharge to Groundwater: What Are the Risks?" The forum dealt with the health and ecological risks from wastewater contaminants that are not regulated and are not completely removed by our conventional treatment plants. View a pdf.

12-12-11 Our water future - challenges, choices

Three recently published water reports identify many of the complex challenges and choices confronting the state of Arizona. They are: 1) "Watering the Sun Corridor - Managing Choices in Arizona's Megapolitan Area" by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy; 2) "Arizona at the Crossroads: Water Scarcity or Water Sustainability?" by the Grand Canyon Institute; and 3) a preliminary report prepared by the state-mandated Water Resources Development Commission (WRDC). In this column, I will summarize some key observations in these reports and highlight their implications. View document.

10-21-11 USGS model worthy of use

Three recent articles in The Daily Courier have discussed the newly completed U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) model of the Verde River groundwater system and the unwillingness of Prescott-area officials to use the model for one of its major intended purposes, i.e., to assist state
and local officials in the management of their groundwater resources. Because of this developing conflict, the Citizens Water Advocacy Group (CWAG) asked me to provide a hydrologist's perspective on the model's value. View document.

10-08-11 Water issues - analysis & opinion

Even with the slowdown in population growth, there's a lot happening on the water front. In today's column, I will touch on the issues on the minds of water managers, public officials and citizens who keep an eye on such things in the Prescott area. View document.

08-10-11 Water misconceptions pose challenges

"There's no point in conserving water when the water saved just goes to population growth."
"It's not right for water rates to go up if we conserve."
"Arizona law requires us to reach safe yield, and the state has a plan in place to balance our aquifer and preserve our water supply." View document.

DAILY DROPLET

  • "Ranchers need clean water for their stock, farmers need it for their crops, every employer needs it to stay in business, and every living thing needs it for life... The law needs to be clear to protect water quality and the rights of landowners."
    Mark Udall
  • "Water is the driver of Nature."
    Leonardo da Vinci
  • "When the well is dry, we know the worth of water."
    Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1746
  • "...and since flow of information is to spirit what water is to life, we'd best think about how to keep the pipes free and unclogged."
    Raphie Frank
  • "In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference."
    Rachel Carson
  • "We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one."
    Jacques Yves Cousteau
  • "Water is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water."
    Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine
  • "Water is everywhere and in all living things; we cannot be separated from water. No water, no life. Period..."
    Robert Fulghum
  • "It's the water. Everything is driven by the water."
    Mike Thompson
  • "Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over."
    Mark Twain