The conservation of our water resources is obviously an important component of Sonoran Desert conservation. Through smart land-use planning and strong local policies, we advocate for the conservation of existing water resources and the riparian habitat these water resources support.
For example, in December 2007, as part of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment process, the Pima County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a revised Water Resources Element. The overall goal of the revised Water Resources Element is to address water resource impacts earlier in the land-use decision-making process. Some of the highlights include:
- A Water Supply Impact Review on Comprehensive Plan Amendments which are larger than four acres.
- The submittal of a Preliminary and Final Integrated Water Management Plan (IWMP) on rezonings. The IWMP will address issues such as water supply options, proximity of the development to existing water supply infrastructure and groundwater-dependent ecosystems, and analysis of groundwater level trends in the area, among others.
- Rezoning policies that promote water conservation, discourage developments that could negatively impact groundwater-dependent ecosystems, encourage connection to a renewable and potable water supply, and promote recharge in areas of shallow groundwater.
The Coalition has also been involved with the revision of Pima County’s Riparian Habitat Mitigation Guidelines and other regional water resource planning initiatives.
Most recently, we were a founding member of the Community Water Coalition (CWC). The CWC “envisions southern Arizona as a model community for sustainable use of water resources, understanding that the long-term health and prosperity of human populations is dependent upon healthy watersheds and ecosystems.” The CWC’s mission is to “provide leadership and guidance toward water policy that sustains healthy ecosystems and quality of life in the Tucson area and lower Santa Cruz River watershed.” For more information about the CWC, their work, and how to get involved, head here.