It looks like the Verde Valley is sticking together on this one.
Camp Verde is the latest Valley community to jump on the bandwagon in opposition to the pumping of water from the Big Chino aquifer, suspected to be the headwaters of the Verde River.
Councilman Tony Gioia’s request for council members to take a strong stand was approved Wednesday evening by a unanimous vote.
Also this week, the City of Cottonwood passed a similar resolution. Clarkdale and Jerome passed one on Nov. 28 and Sedona is expected to take the same action next week.
The City of Prescott has proposed pumping the Big Chino water to provide Prescott water to the 4,000-home Del Rio development on the north side of Chino Valley. In exchange, Del Rio will build a pipeline to the city’s well in the Big Chino aquifer, an idea supported by the Prescott City Council just last month.
The Camp Verde council based its decision to fight pumping because regional long-term water management decisions should be based on scientific evidence that has not yet been determined, explained Gioia. In 1999, the state of Arizona allocated funding for scientific studies for the upper and middle Verde River with a particular emphasis on the Upper Verde studies in determining any impact resulting from increased pumping in the Big Chino area.
The resolution passed by the Camp Verde council states, "The major and common council of the town of Camp Verde are opposed to any pumping from the Big Chino Aquifer such as that proposed by the City of Prescott and or any other partners, until all the Verde River Watershed funded and proposed scientific studies have been completed and evaluated, in order to provide strong and convincing evidence that such pumping will cause no negative impact on the flow of the Verde River."
Yavapai County Supervisor Chip Davis has gone on record strongly opposed to the Prescott decision. Gioia is a member of the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee, a committee that Davis helped formed and that has openly criticized Prescott’s plans.