Policy Options for Water Management in the Verde Valley, Arizona (Executive Summary)

by Bob Raucher; Daniel Sheer; James Limbrunner; Jim Henderson; Matthew Heberger; Michael Cohen

Jun 24, 2011
The water of the Verde Valley, both in the ground and flowing at the surface, is a natural resource that is critical to the regional economy, environmental sustainability, and quality of life -- but the Verde River faces unprecedented threats from over-allocation, development, and lack of cohesive water management. This report presents the results of three related initiatives designed to examine possible futures for the Verde and provides information for stakeholders and decision makers regarding the Verde Valley's water resources, its economic value, and possible tools for sustainable water management.

Our analysis included modeling the effects of growth on river flows and on the regional economy. Population growth and development in the basin, if not mitigated, are likely to cause further decrease in the summer base flow in the Verde River. Decreases in the Verde River's flow have already been observed, and further reductions could have harmful side effects on the region's economy and could lead to federal intervention in local water management to maintain habitat for endangered species.

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