1. 100% of the Verde River’s normal flows come from underground water, called “groundwater,” that is flowing downhill toward the River. When we intercept that water with wells, we are removing water that would otherwise contribute to the flow of the Verde River. Watch the river level decrease with more wells in the cartoon above.
2. The Verde River is the last river in Arizona still flowing all year long for its entire length. Seven other Arizona rivers no longer flow perennially because of groundwater interception and diversions of their surface flows!
3. The Verde River’s riparian zone (the “greenbelt on the River’s edges) supports about 2/3 of all lifeforms in Arizona.
4. The Verde River is 192 miles long, and it is boatable with canoes and kayaks for more than 130 of those miles year-round!
5. The trees and plants along the Verde River form the “Freemont Cottonwood-Goodding Willow forest type”, the rarest in North America. Less than 325,000 acres remain anywhere in the world.
6. The primary threat to the recreational and environmental value of the Verde is “dewatering”, or losing its flows. The main culprits are drought, diversion into ditches, and interception of groundwater by wells.
7. The Verde River supports about 240 species of birds, and is one of the most diverse and productive birding spots in the United States. Birds like the Bald Eagle, Common Black Hawk, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Bell’s Vireo, Song Sparrow, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher and many more are “riparian obligates”, meaning they only live along a river or other waterway.
8. The Verde River supplies fresh drinking water to more than 2 million people in Maricopa County, and it is the least expensive water supply in that county.
9. Thousands of acres of farmland are irrigated by the Verde River’s water, both in the Verde Valley and downstream.
10. You can make a difference in the continued health of the Verde River if you:
· Support your favorite Verde River organization, there are several doing good work every day!
· Use the Verde River for recreation – kayak, hike, swim, bird and relax.
· Elect leaders who support the Verde River and want to see it conserved.
· Talk to your friends and associates about how important and wonderful this treasure is.
· Use less water and encourage your city, town or county officials to promote water conservation strategies.
· Plant drought-tolerant plants that don’t need to be watered around your home and business—remember that the water you use in your home and garden is water that doesn’t make it to the River.
· Enjoy the beauty and economic values of the Verde River every day!