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Verde River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Public Meeting

Clarkdale AZ (February 7, 2010) – The Verde River Basin Partnership (Partnership) will hold its Quarterly Membership Meeting on February 8, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. on the Yavapai College Clarkdale Campus in Building M, Room 137.

The Partnership Coordinating Committee chairman, Dr. Ed Wolfe, announced a special presentation open to the public, Sustainable Water Resources – a Regional Issue, to be given by Tom O’Halleran, former State Senator and a former chair of the Natural Resources Committee at the Arizona State Legislature.

O’Halleran is now serving as the Vice Chair of the Verde River Basin Partnership’s Coordinating Committee and is giving presentations for the Partnership throughout the Verde River Basin.

The Partnership has sought for four years to have the U.S. Congress fulfill its promise to the citizens of Northern Arizona by appropriating funds needed for the scientific studies by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) authorized in Title II of Public Law 109-110, the Northern Arizona Land Exchange, Title II and the Verde River Basin Partnership Act of 2005. Scientific studies will clarify both the strengths and weaknesses of Arizona water resources and the critical and imperfectly understood relations between groundwater and surface water in the Verde River Basin. 

“We must know and understand the limitations and workings of our water supply to support sound water-management decisions. For example, the USGS in Hydro-geology of the Upper and Middle Verde River Watersheds, Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5198, stated that in the Verde Valley:  Groundwater storage declines are caused almost entirely by groundwater pumping, and reductions in natural channel recharge resulting from stream flow diversions,” explained Partnership chair, Dr. Wolfe.

Tom O’Halleran is fast becoming one of the Verde River Basins most vocal advocates.  Said O’Halleran, “The studies proposed by the USGS and Partnership are critical to identify the long-term sustainability of our surface and groundwater resources. These unbiased studies will allow our elected officials and water managers to develop best-management practices based on science while protecting the groundwater and surface waters of the Verde River Watershed. Water-resource managers and elected officials throughout Arizona have recognized that without science-based research, water-resource management will not lead to sustainability. I am concerned that some elected officials within the Verde River Basin have chosen to not participate in the Partnership or allow the necessary science to proceed. I do not know how these elected officials expect to achieve their own stated goals of a sustainable regional water resource based on best-management practices and to protect the Verde River and its tributaries without the science envisioned in the USGS/Partnership scope of work and reviewed by the Arizona Department of Water Resources. These goals can only be realized with the science proposed by the Partnership.”

The public is welcome during this presentation. Organizers are asking the public to be proactive and find how Congress can appropriate the promised funds to the citizens of Northern Arizona. The Partnership agenda for this meeting and additional Partnership information are available at VerdeRiverBasinPartnership.org.

Sedona Arizona political organization, Democrats of the Red Rocks, submitted the following in writing for this article, “We are attempting to get as many citizens to attend so the press can see that our grassroots effort is starting to work. The presentation will be very informative and I believe of interest to those concerned with the environment and our stewardship of our water resources. It will also have political content since we have been obstructed in our endeavors by elected officials from the Prescott area and this will be discussed.”

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