Matt Clark: Drought contingency plan fails to conserve Arizona’s precious rivers

The DCP gives no love to the San Pedro, nor for that matter to any of our state’s other beleaguered rivers, like the Verde River, whose still-perennial waters support myriad wildlife and the economies of rural Arizona communities.

Do we want any of our remaining living rivers to go the way of the Santa Cruz? Most Arizonans would say “absolutely not!” And yet, here we are.

We desperately need to modernize Arizona’s water laws to be able to sustain gems like the San Pedro and Verde rivers, and to revive cultural and economic treasures such as the Santa Cruz.

One solid step in the right direction is to pass legislation to recognize “ecological water” as a beneficial use under Arizona’s existing water laws.

This addition would protect existing property rights and allow for the voluntary transfer of water rights for the benefit of our rivers, their ecosystems and the many communities and businesses that rely upon these values.

If you care about the future of our rivers, it’s urgent for you to call on your state legislators now to hold a public hearing for SB 1370 and HB 2630 this week, lest conservation of our living rivers be omitted from our leaders’ water agenda yet again.

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