A Community Conversation About Water

Camille Cox, President

A Community Conversation About Water

In October, the Sustainability Alliance produced an online webinar about a new Friends of the Verde River program designed to give homeowners, businesses and communities a new voice in saving the Verde through their River Friendly lifestyle concept. Dr. Max Wilson, Sustaining Flows Manager for Friends of the Verde, explained the challenges the river faces and steps we can take in our daily life to help towards ensuring a healthy river for future generations.

It’s sad but true that the Verde is one of the Southwest’s last flowing rivers, home to dozens of species of plants and animals, irrigation for farms, and water to millions of people. For many reasons, the summer flows in the Verde are rapidly declining, 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 supplies the Verde. Although the river headwaters are some distance from us, we are in the greater watershed and seemingly small choices we make as residents and recreators (hiking, biking, kayaking, even dog-walking) DO impact the health of the river.

What is River Friendly Living?   The aim 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 that residents and businesses can take, and features bronze, silver and gold certification levels. I took the test myself and, to my delight, our home qualified for Silver Certification.

The process is fast and easy. First, I recommend that you listen to the recording of the presentation so you gain full appreciation for what’s at stake, and how your actions will help: https://www.sustainabilityallianceaz.org/water.  If you’re already a hydrology whiz or just want to fast-track to the checklist, this Friends of the Verde River web page talks about the new program https://verderiver.org/river-friendly-living/.  Second, on the FOTVR page, complete the contact form and say you’re interested in certification. Last, when you receive the application by email, take 5 minutes to complete and submit.

I encourage everyone in the community to consider getting certified. What a sight it would be to have homes throughout the Village displaying signs showing their support for the health of the Verde!  This is one way that you can contribute to our community’s vitality.

Resolution for 2022 – Give Water Some Mind-Share.  Water is essential, mysterious and fascinating to study. The more I learn, the greater my appreciation for the urgency of water stewardship. My personal New Year offering to you is a reading list of books that opened my mind, particularly about the nature of water in desert environments. They are all thought-provoking, 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 BPRCC Water-Related Activities  The Community Plan Committee will be releasing the draft plan in the next few months – and Water is one of the elements they have addressed. In March, a small team of citizens and Yavapai County Development Services staff, under the leadership of District 3 Supervisor Michaels, will be attending the 3-day Arizona Growing Water Smart workshop in Phoenix.  Dr. Marianne Langridge, Big Park/VOC community plan committee member, was honored with a seat on that team, and will bring back valuable information and ideas for activation.

In closing, I look forward to continuing in service to this community in 2022 as your Council president.  There are many important projects in process, and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition and contributing to the health and preservation of the Big Park Region.

Isaak Dudley with Friends of the Verde River, presented Camille and Philip Cox with a yard sign proclaiming their property as a Certified Silver Level River Friendly Home. The new program recognizes residents and businesses for taking measures that conserve and protect the Verde watershed region.