A Community Conversation on Water | Independent Verde


In October, the Sustainability Alliance produced an online webinar on a new Friends of the Verde River program designed to give homeowners, businesses and communities a new voice to save the Verde through their River Friendly lifestyle concept.

Dr Max Wilson, Flow Maintenance Manager for Friends of the Verde, explained the challenges the river faces and the steps we can take in our daily lives to help ensure a healthy river for future generations.

Sadly, it is true that the Verde is one of the last rivers in the southwest, home to dozens of species of plants and animals, irrigating farms and watering millions of people. For many reasons, summer flows in the Verde are declining rapidly, threatening to reduce this precious resource to a memory.

In easy-to-understand lingo and compelling visuals, the webinar explains the vulnerabilities of the underground aquifer that feeds the Verde. Although the headwaters of the river are some distance from us, we are in the larger watershed and the seemingly small choices we make as residents and recreationists (hiking, biking, kayaking, even walking a dog) have an impact on the health of the river.

What is River Friendly Living? The goal of the program is to inspire a culture throughout the region of voluntary conservation by recognizing those who make choices to protect the Verde River. The program provides a list of actions residents and businesses can take and offers bronze, silver, and gold certification levels. I took the test myself and, to my delight, our house qualified for Silver certification.

The process is quick and easy. First of all, I recommend that you listen to the recording of the presentation so that you have a full appreciation of what is at stake and how your actions will help: SustainabilityAllianceAZ.org/water. If you’re already a hydrology wizard or just want a quick access to the checklist, this Friends of the Verde River webpage talks about the new program: VerdeRiver.org/river-friendly-living/. Second, on the FOTVR page, fill out the contact form and say that you are interested in the certification. Finally, when you receive the application by email, take five minutes to complete and submit it.

I encourage all members of the community to consider getting certified. What a sight it would be to have houses all over the village displaying signs showing their support for the health of the Verde! It is a way of contributing to the vitality of our community.

Resolution for 2022 – Give the water a little spirit. Water is essential, mysterious and fascinating to study. The more I learn, the more I appreciate the urgency of water management. My personal New Year’s offer is a reading list of books that have opened my mind, particularly on the nature of water in desert environments. They are all stimulating, well written and will enhance your enjoyment of living in this high desert ecosystem.

“The Secret Knowledge of Water”, Craig Childs

“The West Without Water”, B Lynn Ingram and Frances Malamud-Roam

“Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West”, James Lawrence Powell

Other water-related activities of the BPRCC. The community plan committee will be releasing the draft plan over the next few months – and water is one of the things they have addressed. In March, a small team of citizens and staff from Yavapai County Development Services, under the direction of District 3 Supervisor Michaels, will participate in the 3-day Arizona Growing Water Smart workshop in Phoenix. Dr. Marianne Langridge, member of the Big Park / VOC Community Plan Committee, was honored to serve on this team and will bring back valuable information and ideas for activation.

In conclusion, I look forward to continuing to serve this community in 2022 as Chairman of your Board. Many important projects are underway and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition and to contribute to the health and preservation of the Grand Parc region.

About Jefferey G. Cannon

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