The City of Tucson and Pima County are collaborating on a region water plan. It’s about time. But you should read the reports: government concepts of priorities might not be the same as those held by property owners and businesses.
Over the past several years, local governments have been devising a plan to maintain and ensure water supply for the future. A “Phase 1” report deals with an inventory of water resources and an assessment of infrastructure. A “Phase 2” report “establishes a framework for sustainable water resources planning including 19 goals and 56 recommendations within four interconnected elements: Water Supply, Demand Management, Comprehensive Integrated Planning, and Respect for Environment.”
The new Action Plan describes a range of activities with time lines to implement the goals and
recommendations in the Phase 2 Report. The City wants your comments.
From my reading of the plan, the City is placing great emphasis on making the Santa Cruz River pretty. That will include riparian restoration projects, a new bureaucracy to propose such projects, and bond elections to buy up land. The report uses fuzzy phrases such as “smart growth” and “sustainable development.” Concerning sustainability, the report admits, ” Our work during Phase I documented how elusive the concept is in practice.”
The Action Plan cites four principles for managing water:
Principle 1: Water is an essential part of life for humans and the environment. Delivery of water and wastewater must maximize both quantity and quality.
Principle 2: The environment must be considered a user, not simply a provider, of water resources.
Principle 3: Policies affecting water and wastewater must be open to wide public discussion in a completely transparent process.
Principle 4: Water is an economically-valued resource and must be managed with due consideration to its economic value.
Your comments are needed to help the City go from concepts to practice.