Policy Options for Water Management in the Verde Valley, Arizona

Published: June 2011

Authors: Michael Cohen, Matthew Heberger, Jim Henderson, James Limbrunner, Bob Raucher, and Daniel Sheer

Pages: 187



The Verde River in central Arizona faces unprecedented threats from over-allocation, development, and a lack of cohesive water management. This report models the effects of growth on river flows and on the regional economy. It finds that population growth and development in the basin, if not mitigated, are likely to further decrease the summer base flow in the Verde River and harm the region’s economy. Potential federal intervention may be required to maintain habitat for endangered species. The report offers over a dozen policy recommendations in four categories as a roadmap to sustainable water management in this region and elsewhere.

Included are three detailed case studies examining how others in the western United States have begun reforming groundwater management to maintain river flows. These case studies focus on the Middle Rio Grande Basin in New Mexico, the Deschutes River Basin in Oregon, and the Edwards Aquifer in south central Texas.

The report was written by Pacific Institute researchers in collaboration with researchers at HydroLogics, Inc. and Stratus Consulting.