Verde River Water Quality

Clean Water Act

Since 2006, in cooperation with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, volunteers of the Sierra Club Water Sentinels program have monitored water quality at seven sites along the Verde River. Water quality data has been collected for selected water quality parameters, including pH, temperature, electrical conductivity, total dissolved solids, E. coli bacteria, arsenic, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, and total phosphorus.

The photo shows sample collection near Verde Springs.

Water Sentinels Data

The Water Sentinels water quality data indicate that the water quality in the upper Verde meets the Clean Water Act standards for body contact. A full analysis of the water quality data can be downloaded.
Here is an example of the data for E. coli:


Prompted by concern that mercury emissions from the Drake Cement plant could interfere with endangered native fish reproduction, the Water Sentinels, Drake Cement, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service cooperatively conducted a study of mercury in the upper Verde. The study measured mercury levels prior to the operation of the cement kiln, establishing a baseline of natural mercury levels. Observed mercury levels were well below the threshold known to cause reproductive or behavioral issues in fish.


  • "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