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No less than 17 water groups exist in the Verde Valley. Yavapai County District 1 Supervisor Carol Springer argues that only elected officials should have voting rights on these water committees.
By Mike Cosentino
Larson Newspapers
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No less than 17 water groups exist in the Verde Valley.

Yavapai County District 1 Supervisor Carol Springer argues that only elected officials should have voting rights on these water committees.

Others argue that groups like the Nature Conservancy and others who own property, whose livelihood is dependent on water management or who have a long-term vested interest should have some voting rights.

During the last Yavapai County Board of Supervisor?s meeting, a vote was taken along the mountain ridge line to fund one local water organization over another. The 2-1 vote gave the Upper Verde Watershed Protection Coalition $55,000 while the motion to include the Verde River Basin Partnership for half that amount could not get second and failed.

After Chip Davis, chairman of the Board of Supervisors and representative for District 3 made a motion to fund both water groups, which died for lack of a second, District 2 Supervisor Thomas Thurman moved to fund only the UVWPC which found Springer and Thurman voting in favor and Davis against.

One of the Verde Valley?s most knowledgeable representatives in the region regarding our water issues is Robert Hardy, assistant to the Cottonwood city manger. Hardy sits on the State Water Advisory Group, is technical advisor to several others and sits on several local and statewide water boards. Due to his expertise, he has been tapped to make presentations to the state legislature this week.

Hardy said that some of the myriad local water groups have provided studies that give a good foundation for understanding water issues in the area. In the near future, he said, those groups with access to federal dollars, such as the VRBP, will be able to fund some significant information on groundwater aquifers and surface water in the Verde Valley.

He also said that there were three bills associated with water introduced in the 2006 legislative session. Forty-seven have been introduced so far in 2007.

In Yavapai County, three of the groups currently seem to be on the agendas of the Board of Supervisors are, in order of their inception: the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee, the Verde River Basin Partnership and the Upper Verde Watershed Protection Coalition.

Hardy said that the Yavapai County WAC may have been designed to address many of the county water discussion needs. Its structure regarding who gets to sit at the table has become controversial.

Stay tuned for more coverage as the water legislation moves though the state government.


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