Originally Published: January 22, 2014 6 a.m.
This is a rebuttal to John Zambrano's critique of my Jan. 1 "Talk of the Town" in the Courier.
Mr. Z, who represents the Citizen's Water Advocacy Group (CWAG), objected to my suggestion that municipality pumping give consideration to tapping into the static reservoirs of the Big Chino, Little Chino and Upper Agua Fria sub-basins. He suggested that municipal pumping was now drying up the shallow private exempt wells and that drawing on the static reservoirs would exacerbate the problem and do damage to the Verde River flow.
He seems to be oblivious to our area's most serious drought since records began in 1898. We have had 15 consecutive years of below average annual precipitation. The next driest interval was six years (1898-1904). Now I don't want to be a "wet blanket," but is it possible that the drying up of the shallow wells and decreased Verde River flow is being caused by the extended drought?
For a moment, disregard Lake Mead's dynamic reservoir status and consider it as being placed in a "static" category. When the water level reaches the spillway and flows over, local springs and the Verde River flow. When the water level drops down below the spillway, the springs and the Verde dry up. If there is no pumping and the only withdrawal is via evaporation, what other event(s) could, possibly, cause the lake's water level to rise and fall? Deductive reasoning suggests that the culprit is annual precipitation that falls upstream in the Colorado River drainage basin. When there is above average annual precipitation the lake's water level rises and when below average the water level drops.
If there was no Lake Mead where would Phoenix be today and if our drought continues where will we be tomorrow?