Bugle: Water rights at issue in Verde Valley

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Camp Verde Bugle published a commentary by Steve Ayers, economic development director for the Town of Camp Verde, in which he asks "Does the Verde Valley have the water certainty we need for sustainable growth?"

Citing a recent survey conducted by the Kyl Center for Water Policy at ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy (The Price of Uncertainty), Ayers writes people and companies that drive economic development want “water certainty” – that is, proof of long-term water supplies that are both physically and legally available.

"The rights to divert surface water from the Verde River and to draw water from wells in the river’s “subflow zone” – the surrounding area that is hydrologically connected to the river – are at issue in the Gila Watershed Adjudication, a decades-long legal proceeding to determine the priority and quantity of water rights.

"The final court decree will establish water certainty for the Verde Valley, but some water users and water providers may wind up with significantly less water than they had counted on.

"It has become obvious to many that we can no longer wait for the wheels of justice to grind slowly and finely through the Verde Valley, while our water uncertainty increases.

"Let’s work on finding a way to settle the water rights claims in the Verde Valley to ensure sustainable water stewardship for our communities’ prosperity and quality of life," Ayers concluded.

READ: Commentary: Settling water rights key to Verde Valley’s future