Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Is ADWR Impotent or Just Arizona Water Law?

From today's AZ Daily Star, a piece by Tony Davis about Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) recent decision to approve the water supply for a very large new development in the Sierra Vista area.  For a little background on water issues in this part of Southeast Arizona check out my previous posts here and here.

Before I take a look at what this decision means I have to point out one erroneous statement from the article.  In the 3rd paragraph where it says "the department's decision gave a clear signal that it doesn't agree with the BLM's position opposing this pumping ..." that is not exactly a correct interpretation of what ADWR was saying (just based on what was reported here because ADWR doesn't have the decision posted to their website as of this afternoon, when I last checked).  As stated under the reasons cited for the ruling, ADWR simply doesn't have the authority to consider the effect of federal reserved rights on an application for a designation of adequate water supply where the application involves pumping groundwater and the federal reserved rights at issue are for surface water.  Arizona law doesn't recognize the connection between surface water and groundwater, except under very narrow circumstances.  And the criteria that ADWR can consider in evaluating the application are pretty clearly spelled out in the administrative code.  I've never noticed anything in there about compliance with federal law as it pertains to federal reserved water rights.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Putting on the promoter cap

It's that time again.  Time for me to extoll the virtues of Watershed Management Group and put out the call for donations for our summer fundraising campaign.  Full disclosure up front - I am the current vice-chair of the board of directors for WMG.  I don't make any money doing this, but I derive great personal satisfaction from watching their success.

If you haven't heard my spiel before, WMG is a fabulous non-profit based here in Tucson, Arizona that does work, currently throughout Arizona, in Southern California, in Sonora, Mexico, and in India and more recently in Burkina Faso.  Several of those locations are places where we have only begun working within the last two years, largely because of the strength of the individual donors who support the organization.  WMG has been growing by leaps and bounds because there are many people who support the great work they do, but also because there is such a huge need out there for growth of community-based programs to give people the tools they need to become better stewards of their resources.

That need continues to grow and hopefully WMG will be able to continue to grow to satisfy that need.  But they can only do it through the support of like-minded people.  And I'm certain there are at least a few of those people who read this blog.  And if you decide you like what the organization does and think there is a need for them to take on work in your community, send me a note or contact them through their website to see if there is an opportunity to expand there.  Or you can participate in one of their great training programs and learn how to do this sort of work yourself and teach others the same skills.

Check out this link for info on how to support WMG.  And if you are able to make a contribution this week a generous match from one of our donors will double your support.  Please do what you can.  Thanks.