The Daily Courier Logo
Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
5:28 PM Fri, Jan. 18th

Letter: It will change


On the front page of the Courier last month, the message that the Deep Well Ranch water supply cannot be “unilaterally changed” ignores a crucial fact: It can and will be changed, unilaterally, by Nature herself in the next few decades. (Regents Prof. Overpeck at Arizona U. pointed out last year that the entire Colorado watershed is effectively in the process of drying-up.)

Now, nobody in their right mind would consider passing laws to prohibit hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, drought, etc., because human laws are always superseded by Natural Law. Yet making legally-binding water plans which may have worked in the past but not in a currently changing climate is just exactly that — because we are rapidly leaving the Holocene (the last ~10,000 years of amazingly stable climate) toward a hotter, drier future. Three of the 9 Planetary Boundaries (Rockstrom, et. al., Nature [2009]; Science [2014]) have already been transgressed.

One important Planetary Boundary of crucial importance and relevance to Prescott is the water in the Verde watershed — Planetary Boundary analysis shows that HALF of it must stay IN the watershed to avoid destroying the stable, Holocene climate upon which our civilization depends. This science-derived requirement significantly modifies any sane, adult discussion about future water supplies in Prescott. (The word “science” here means the rigorous, systematic study of Natural Law; see the just-released, 2017 Federal Report located at

A sane approach would likely be to include renegotiation clauses in the Master Plan which would be triggered by major fiscal and climate impacts to the Prescott area. Corporations don’t like such, but it is the new reality of climate destabilization.

Patti Sheaffer

Prescott (Diamond Valley)