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5:53 PM Mon, Nov. 19th

Upper Verde group hears about recharge, gets petitions

PRESCOTT - The Upper Verde River Watershed Protection Coalition today will consider moving to the next step in an artificial groundwater recharge program.

The meeting is 2 p.m. at the Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.

At the start of the meeting during the "call to public," the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups plan to present the coalition with a petition seeking a comprehensive mitigation plan before Prescott-area communities start building a water pipeline to the Big Chino aquifer north of Prescott.

The Center for Biological Diversity said it has more than 19,000 signatures on the petitions.

The center also will present the coalition with a pipeline position statement endorsed by 20 groups.

Their issues center around the pipeline's potential impacts to the Verde River. Scientists generally agree that at least 80 percent of the Upper Verde River's flow during dry seasons comes from the Big Chino aquifer.

The coalition is considering artificial recharge into the Prescott Active Management Area and Big Chino Valley as one way to increase groundwater flow to the Upper Verde and deal with the groundwater overdraft in the Little Chino aquifer under the Prescott area.

The coalition will consider today whether to commission a $52,000 report about potential recharge sites and methods.

Also on the coalition's agenda is consideration of a letter to Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Herb Guenther.

The letter asks about the status of ADWR's plan to calculate the estimated average annual Prescott AMA groundwater recharge from flooding in 1940-2004.