3/12/2014 10:20:00 AM Water is a resource each person must work to protect
Gary Beverly took this photo of the Verde River near Duff Spring, east of Paulden
Courtesy Google with graphics by Gary Beverly
This map, which Gary Beverly prepared for the Paulden residents at Thursday’s PACO meeting, shows where Paulden is located, indicated by “You are here” in relation to the Verde Springs, headwaters of the Verde River, and the route of the river. Verde Springs is the sole source of water for the first 25 miles of the river, down to Perkinsville Bridge. Beverly explained that this areas is some of the finest riparian habitat in the state. It is totally dependent on Verde Springs for base flow; there are no other significant water sources for the river.
Gary Beverly, a volunteer conservationist and 40-year Chino Valley resident, told residents at the Paulden Area Community Organization (PACO) meeting Thursday that he knows only 10 percent of what there is to know about protecting the area's water resources and the treasure that is the Verde River.
His main message to an audience of about 25 was "Protect the Verde River - protect your wells. We're all in this together."
Beverly, a retired contractor and businessman, now volunteers with Citizens Water Advocacy Group (CWAG) in the Prescott area, and with the Sierra Club to protect natural resources and public lands.
PACO invited Beverly to speak about water conservation at its meeting. As CWAG's Education Committee Chair, Beverly has spoken at many local club meetings, such as Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis and others. He teaches that each person's water usage actions make a difference in helping to save water, and therefore preserve the aquifer and the Verde River, Arizona's last surviving perennial river.
Beverly's 1-1/2-hour presentation included many maps and charts related to water resources, habitat information and photos of the Verde River. He also gave the audience tips they personally could implement, such as electing politicians who understand and care about water issues, minimizing outdoor water use and improving water conservation in the home, and learning about the Verde River,
Beverly explained that because of many threats, including over pumping by various entities and even by individual well users, the water table continues to fall in the Big Chino Valley. He said that although it could take decades for these effects to take place, people must be good stewards of water resources and watch what's going on.
"This is one job where you really have to look ahead," he said.
No one can predict the future, he said, but because the Chino-Paulden area is highly developable, with its gentle rolling hills and shallow well-drilling requirements, the area will continue to grow, and with more people comes more water usage.
Beverly says that it's a hydrologic fact that unmitigated groundwater mining in the Big Chino Valley will eventually diminish Verde Springs, the headwaters of the Verde River near Paulden, turning the first 25 miles of the river into a dry wash, like what's happening with the drying of Del Rio Springs north of Chino Valley.
At the end of Beverly's presentation, at least seven audience members asked questions about rain and groundwater levels, the feasibility of rainwater harvesting systems, and the impact of Prescott's water pumping on the aquifer.
Beverly supports rainwater harvesting, which collects rain that lands on the roof of a home, then runs down gutters and into a holding tank. He suggests that homeowners include a 5,000-gallon system into a new home's mortgage.
"The water would cost about the same as Prescott municipal water," Beverly explained. "It's more expensive than not doing it."
One resident agreed with Beverly that people need to know what political candidates have to say about water resources, particularly for the Big Chino Valley.
"What you said about elected officials was the smartest thing you said tonight," the audience member said. "We need to protect Paulden and the Verde River from people who are going to rob it."
PACO announced a Water Rights Workshop, at 6 p.m. prior to the May 1 PACO general meeting. PACO officials said the claim form is very technical and people can get help with it at the workshop.
PACO also announced a Walkabout of the Verde River, 9 a.m.-noon on April 17, leaving from the Little Thumb Butte Bed & Breakfast in Rimrock.
CWAG meets the second Saturday of each month, 10 a.m. at the Granite Peak United Universalist Church, 882 Sunset Ave., in Prescott, two blocks behind True Value Hardware store on Miller Valley Road, and people can visit their website at www.cwagaz.org, or email them at info.cwagAZ.org.
Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Article comment by:
Great job Gary. Water is potentially a scarce resource that needs the kind if attention your presentation provided to the Paulden and Chino Valley residents that were in attendance. CWAG members work hard to help local residents understand the issues. Presentations such as yours are critical to the future water supply and quality of the region.