Sedona Arizona



Citizens Water Advocacy Group


Through civil public dialogue, collaboration and applied knowledge, the Citizens Water Action Group in Prescott, Ariz., works toward a shared community vision of lasting conservation and collective prosperity. Everyone is welcome to attend the group's meetings.



Tuesday, February 19


12 PM - Open to the Public - Embry Riddle Aeronautical University will be hosting Charlie Ester and Chuck Dempsey from SRP who will be presenting a faculty seminar. This will be an update on a previous presentation they gave on the drought and its impact on water supplies in Arizona.  Location: 3700 Willow Creek Rd., Prescott.


Wednesday, February 20


10 AM - Regular meeting of the Verde Watershed Association. Location: County Building - 1015 Fair St., Prescott (Board of Supervisors Room).


2 PM - Regular meeting of the Yavapai County Watershed Advisory Committee. 


Wednesday, February 27


2 PM – Regular meeting of the Upper Verde River Protection Coalition.  Location: Council Chambers - 201 S. Cortez St., Prescott.


For more information about the upcoming programs, call 928-445-4218 or e-mail info@cwaqaz.org. Visit the CWAG Web site at www.cwagaz.org.



Observer Endorsements









Become an








All for one,

one for all.

For a better






Sustainable Living


Working together as a community

to find greater balance

                                                                                                          Photo by Nancy Bartell/Sedona

Truth and beauty can still win battles.

We need more art, more wit and more passion in defense of the Earth.

                                                                                                       David Brower

What is sustainability?

The 1987 U.N. report "Our Common Future" It defines it as "meeting the needs of present generations while not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." While the concept represents complex shifts on a global scale, it also translates into simple steps for balanced living for every individual.

Sustainability isn’t just about curbing bad environmental habits. Rather, it embraces all aspects of society – the economy and community, as well as the ecosystem – on equal terms.

Philanthropist Julie Wrigley, in a report published by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy and the Global Institute of Sustainability, describes it very simply. “It is the century’s greatest opportunity,” she wrote in Sustainability for Arizona: The Issue of Our Age.

While sustainable living addresses challenges such as global warming and water conservation, it also means facing the issues of immigration, growth for growth’s sake, sprawling development, the diminishing middle class and burgeoning numbers of working poor right here in our very own back yard. 

The Sedona Observer believes that, by working together, Verde Valley communities can set a leadership precedent in sustainable living for the rest of Arizona and the nation. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work.

For more articles on sustainability, please read our ECONOMY and DEVELOPMENT page.


Simple Steps to

a Better World

By Amy Godfrey

Is saving the world on your "to do" list?

If not, it may simply mean you feel hopeless and overwhelmed when you become more aware about the state of the environment. With problems so enormous, it's hard to imagine that one person can make a dent in any of them.

The good news is that you're not alone. And, by working together, even a few small steps can make a big impact.

The sustainability movement is clearly at the tipping point with major corporations realizing that they can make a handsome profit by going green. This is evidenced by the shift to sustainability messages in advertising and daily media coverage.

Jumping on the bandwagon

An abundance of mainstream businesses have jumped on the bandwagon to capitalize on the growing sustainability market demand. Major companies such as Waste Management and General Electric have integrated sustainability into their company policies.

For example, the American Waterworks Association says homeowners can reduce water use by about 30 percent by installing more efficient water fixtures and regularly checking for leaks. Indeed, just one drop per second from a leaky hot water faucet can waste up to 165 gallons a month – more than one person uses in two weeks!

Review the checklist below and see which steps you already do. Then, figure out what ones you can do over the next few months. Before you know it, you'll be effortlessly making a big difference while saving a lot of money!

Conserve Water

  1. Keep water in the fridge instead of letting the tap run to let it get cold.
  2. Take shorter showers.
  3. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or washing your face. Fill a cup or basin instead.
  4. Put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If color seeps into the bowl, it's time to fix the leak!
  5. Install water-saving devices, such as low-flow showerheads and toilet dams, to save water and money.
  6. Use cold water in the washer to lower utility bills and energy use.
  7. Water the yard early in the morning or at night when evaporation rates are at their lowest.
  8. Don't use toilets, drains or storm sewers for waste disposal.
  9. Check your pipes for leaks and fix them promptly.

Reuse and Recycle Goods

  1. Use both sides of a sheet of paper, and use scrap paper for informal notes.
  2. Collect used paper for recycling.
  3. Repair or purchase used items instead of buying new ones. Check out www.freecycle.com, a Web site that connects people who need things with those who want to get rid of things.
  4. Donate unwanted articles of clothing, furniture and books to appropriate agencies so they can be used again.
  5. Shop at secondhand stores, garage sales and Web sites, and use the classified ads instead of purchasing brand new items.
  6. Purchase an existing home and make repairs to it instead of building on natural areas or agricultural land.
  7. Reuse grocery and plastic bags (for lunch sacks, etc.).

Select and Dispose of Household Products Wisely

  1. Choose household cleaning products that are the least harmful to the environment and in quantities you will use up.
  2. Dispose of leftover solvents, pesticides, used transmission oil and other toxic chemicals through your county's hazardous waste collection program.
  3. Avoid products containing ozone-depleting substances.
  4. Insist that your refrigerator repair technician use CFC recovery and recycling equipment when servicing your refrigerator or freezer.
  5. Choose water-based and low VOC (volatile organic compound) versions of varnishes, paints and other home products.
  6. Whenever possible, choose natural, organic wood, clays and fibers (and even steel), rather than formaldehyde-emitting carpets, furnishings, walls and fabrics.

Save Energy and Lower Your Electric Bills

  1. Turn off the lights when you leave a room and, when leaving the house, nix the A/C or heat.
  2. Make sure your A/C and heating units are leak-free and in good working condition.
  3. Change your air filters regularly so that your units don't have to work twice as hard to move the air through the filter.
  4. During the hottest months, lower the blinds or invest in tinted windows to minimize the sunlight entering your home.
  5. Purchase energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs and, as your incandescent bulbs burn out, replace them with these longer-lasting ones.
  6. Request a free home energy audit through your county environmental agency or utility.

Clean and Green Your Yard and Garden

  1. Reduce or avoid chemical pesticides. Learn and use alternative pest control options.
  2. When adding new plants to your landscape, choose those best suited to the environment in which you live. These require less water, fertilizer and pesticides to survive and thrive.
  3. Create a composting area to collect food waste for use in your yard. This keeps organic material out of the landfill and chemical fertilizers out of your yard.
  4. Leave grass clippings on the lawn or add them to the compost pile.

Make Smart Transportation Choices

  1. Walk, ride a bike, rollerblade, carpool or use public transit more often.
  2. Keep engines well-tuned and tires properly inflated to maximize fuel efficiency.
  3. Shut off your engine even for short stops. One minute of idling uses more fuel than restarting your engine.
  4. Buy local whenever possible to save the energy used in transporting goods.

Reduce Waste

  1. Bring a lunch from home to avoid the paper waste of takeout.
  2. Buy a reusable water bottle to avoid disposable cup waste.
  3. Avoid products with lots of packaging or those in plastic or Styrofoam containers.
  4. Buy paper products instead of plastic if you must buy disposables, and be sure to recycle the paper. Buy recycled products to help complete the cycle.

With the shift in market demand, corporations, small businesses, and universities are beginning to embrace the sustainability movement. The missing link is a way to educate mainstream America consumers. An exciting new television show, Smart Spaces: Inside & Out, and Web site inspire viewers to embrace living a more sustainable life.


The weekly show illustrates affordable projects to make your home more sustainable. It is a fun and guilt-free half-hour broadcast that introduces viewers to small, medium and large home projects, with a smattering of quick tips that can be instantly implemented at little or no cost. The Web site offers green products and builds community through educational white papers, tips and blogs.

For more information, visit, www.SmartSpacesTV.com or call toll-free: 800-678-8848.

Used with permission from Amy Godfrey and Greg Peterson, Smart Spaces: Inside & Out. Copyright 2007.


Citizens Water Advocacy Group Sets 2008 Agenda


The Citizens Water Advocacy Group promotes a sustainable water future in the Upper Verde River Basin and the Prescott Active Management Area by educating the public, encouraging citizen action and advocating for responsible governmental decision-making since “water is a limited resource.”


Its vision is for all residents of these areas “to have a sustainable supply of clean water; flows in the springs and streams maintained; and the biodiversity of plant and animal communities preserved.”


CWAG monitors local governmental activities through attendance and participation at municipal/county meetings and other local civic meetings, as well as monitoring state water legislation and ADWR rulemaking.


Members recently gathered in Prescott for a strategic planning session to set goals for the coming year. Discussions included pursuing a study to quantify how much water per person individuals would be limited to achieve “Safe-Yield” in the Prescott AMA without importation, and to outline how expensive it would be to the individual otherwise.


Water and sustainable growth

The CWAG has determined the need to expand its efforts outside of Prescott into Prescott Valley and Chino Valley and Yavapai County as a whole.  According to a press release, Prescott Mayor Jack Wilson is already promoting a regional planning group to include officials from the Quad Cities and Verde Valley. CWAG President Chris Hoy stated that it is important to promote economic development to supplant residential development as the major contributor to the community coffers. 


CWAG has taken an official position advocating for an EIS/Mitigation Study by the city of Prescott prior to its pumping of the Big Chino Aquifer.  In addition, a new study recently authorized by the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, will assess water needs in the Prescott AMA and Verde Watershed for the next 50 years.  After completion, the county will conduct a Feasibility Study.


The goals of the studies are to both accurately predict water needs based on projected population and determine possible sources of alternative water. 


Pumping the Big Chino

According to CWAG, Chino Valley has announced its own plans to pump the Big Chino and needs to be addressed. The Salt River Project has threatened lawsuits against both Chino Valley and the city of Prescott unless they mitigate pumping effects to the Upper Verde River. 


Therefore, session participants agreed that CWAG should plan on monitoring and working with those already working on mitigation plans (SRP, city of Prescott, town of Chino Valley). It was suggested that SRP may be trying to protect its rights to surface water supply, but is not necessarily interested in preserving ecological flows in the Verde over the long-term.


Proposition 400 would affect both the amount of water being used and the amount of effluent being used to recharge the local water supply.  CWAG has suggested that an analysis be conducted to more specifically quantify the potential water use/recharge from future annexations by the city of Prescott. 


Water and development

CWAG supports state legislation that would create a Special Water District for the Upper Verde River Watershed. The group is currently considering a public education outreach effort to garner support for this effort. It will participate in the North Central Arizona Regional Watershed Consortium’s efforts to establish the Arizona Water Coalition (a statewide coalition of water groups focused on lobbying for water issues).


CWAG will be developing strategies leading to responsible growth on a regional basis with the objective of tying water to growth, supporting growth planning on a regional basis and getting information on strategies for responsible growth/growth planning.


CWAG members also discussed how to change the local economy’s dependence on residential development during its strategic planning session in January. Hoy and Charles Grantham head the Prescott Mayor’s advisory committee on Economic Development and are involved in seeking alternatives and on how to attract diverse business and industry to the community. CWAG stated it will also seek input from Verde Valley communities to achieve this goal. 


For more information, call 928-445-4218 or e-mail info@cwaqaz.org. Visit the CWAG Web site at www.cwagaz.org.


[Visit the Economy and Development page for Charles Grantham’s column.]