Studies involving the relationship between the base flow of the Verde River and groundwater pumping from the Big Chino Basin are a lot like Al Gore’s repeated requests for a recount of Florida presidential votes.
Information that conflicts with desired results is considered flawed data. But once you get some data that supports your position … ah, then you have something you can sink your teeth into.
That seems to be the posture of many as it relates to a U.S. Geological Survey of the Verde River and Big Chino Basin. Currently, Prescott is moving forward with plans to pump from the Big Chino and pipeline the water to Prescott.
There are those who claim such a move is premature until exhaustive testing is done to determine the exact link between Big Chino groundwater and the Verde River.
Interestingly, a lot of these same people want to disregard the results of USGS exhaustive testing on this very subject. Makes one think they’re waiting around for test results that support Prescott’s plans.
Among the findings in the USGS report was detailed analysis of the Holiday Lakes Estates development in the early 1960s. It included at least three lakes filled by pumping water from the Big Chino aquifer.
According to the USGS study, for 11 days in May 1964 during the pumping, the daily discharge in the Verde River at the Paulden gauge was the "lowest ever recorded." Data shows the Verde’s base flow dropped from 20 cubic feet per second to five.
When the pumping decreased, the river’s base flow returned to its previous level.
Scientific data. Detailed study. Exhaustive research.
It’s not being given the credibility it deserves, however, and it’s not hard to figure out why.
After all, it doesn’t support Prescott’s plan.
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