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Archive for February 10th, 2010

10th February
written by Land Lawyer

We live in the desert, water is a precious commodity. In the west, if you control the water you control EVERYTHING.

Water and Wastewater is the issue of the future for southern Arizona. The two biggest bureaucracies in our region, Tucson and Pima County control the water supply and wastewater processes for the entire region.  For the past 20 months a group of citizens (primarily from the environmental side of our community) have been assembled to learn, talk and plan for the future of ALL of southern Arizona.

 A note that breaks down the core concern of the report from Chris Sheafe:

The problem some of us see with the report is that the report resolution directed staff to proceed on the basis of the report which would codify the allocation of 25% (10,000 Acre Feet) of our Effluent into an Environmental Effluent Pool which would be limited to environmental projects only at no cost to the projects.  The report makes this allocation absent any review of the long term economic sustainability impacts for such an allocation because no economic analysis of its impacts has been made.  Staff was directed to proceed with implementation of the conclusions of the report.  The idea is that economic analysis would be deferred until the next phase of the report is completed after the allocation decision has been set in stone.

It turns out the 10,000 acre feet is the result of a meeting between four individuals ten years ago without any basis for justification for that amount of water being taken off the table for other uses and without any form of economic impact analysis or any evidence confirming that amount of water is required to satisfy the goal of gaining a Section 10 permit for Pima County in order to satisfy the ESA (Endangered Species Act) requirements for only the listed species. 
In the long run the economic health of the region is dependent upon a healthy environment and a healthy economy.  Water is needed for both.  To pre-allocate a large amount of water to one use is ill advised and sends the wrong message to the world about Tucson’s future water supply and or its ability to meet demands from future economic opportunities.  This is the most serious and the latest threat to our ongoing battle to save the precious water available to the region and preserve while preserving as many options for the future that are possible. It removes the burden upon environmental uses to justify their need based upon their individual merit, removes any economic analysis for individual projects and removes many options for the greater Tucson metropolitan community.

A GUEST OPINIONfrom The Tucson Weekly about the Water/Wastewater study from member of the citizen advisory panel:

The Tucson City Council needs to support these recommendations to ensure our area’s water future

Who are the CITIZENS in charge of our water future?

Chair Jim Barry- Barry is a retired Pima County director who once ran the transportation department under Huckelberry. Barry is the go to guy on major Pima County efforts and has a proven record of doing the bidding for current administrator, Chuck Huckelberry. Barry is the uncle of Board of Supervisors odd man out, Ray Carol. From the Tucson Weekly, 2004

Barry, a 20-year county executive who also has lobbied state and federal governments and served in the county transportation department, has about a half-year to kick around or get kicked around by his nephew and fellow Chicago native, Republican Supervisor Sugar Ray Carroll (Tucson Weekly)

Marcelino C. Flores served as the Pasqua Yaqui Tribe jurisdictional representative at the Pima Association of Governments (PAG) Governments, Environmetal Planning Advisory Committee for five years. He is quoted in a PAG report on the role of solar in our region.  Flores is a transportation and land planning professional for the tribe.

Christopher Brooks – Hydrologist. Brooks is a arid desert water specialist. He blogs at Watering The Desert. He covers desert issues and the City of Tucson’s rain water harvesting effort.

Bruce Gungle, a 24 year Tucson resident with a professional background in atmospheric science including lightening strike analysis and rain fall.  Gungle serves on the Pima County planning commission which worked recently to implement the SWIP which would implement put to a $30k per house impact fee for developments on the western edge of Tucson city limits.

Vince’s position as water resources coordinator for Diamond Ventures, Inc. includes working with the company’s development and wet utility divisions on water planning and policy issues. He was appointed to the Citizens Water Advisory Committee by Ward 4 Council Member Shirley Scott and sits on both Conservation & Education and Finance Subcommittees. Vince’s involvement as a member of the West University Neighborhood Association includes volunteer support of the Community Food Bank and assistance with neighborhood planning efforts. His professional affiliations include Urban Land Institute and American Planning Association. Vince is a native Tucsonan whose family has lived in the region for over 100 years.

Bob Cook – Author and contributor to Sustainable Tucson. Cook As a sustainability advocate, he served on the City of Tucson’s Cost of Growth Task Force; contributed to the early development of Civano-Tucson’s Solar Village as past-chair of the Tucson-Pima Metropolitan Energy Commission; promoted multi-modal transportation and transitoriented development as Treasurer of the 2003 Citizens Transportation
Initiative ballot measure; co-founded Sustainable Tucson in 2006, a community-building and advocacy
organization promoting regional sustainability; and currently serves on the Pima County Planning & Zoning Commission, Bob co- authored two books in 1975 on environmental planning and renewable energy development; graduated with distinction in economics from the University of Arizona.

He has been involved in neighborhood and environmental issues for the last 13 years. Rob helped found several local neighborhood and environmental organizations and served onthe boards of several local non-profit organizations. He remains active in the Sierra Club, Center for Environmental Connections, Environmental Justice Action Group and theGem and Jewelry Arts Academy.
Rob has also served on several policy-making committees dealing with neighborhood issues, open space and the environment. Some of these are the Tumamoc Area Plan Update Committee; Pima County Planning and Zoning Commission Subcommittee on Environmental Ordinances; Pima County Open Space Acquisition Review Committee; and Steering Committee for the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. He was also on the City of Tucson Board of Adjustment for eight years.

Tina Lee – Tina has been appointed to various commissions Water commissions in the City of Tucson from Ward 3 and Ward 2. As an environmental consultant, she specialized in resolving regulatory compliance issues under the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program for public and private sector clients.

Joseph Maher, Jr. holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Arizona and established his own architectural business in 1983. His credentials reflect a comprehensive diversity of master planning, site and building analysis and feasibility studies along with the diverse and exciting concepts of creating user friendly, functionally cost as well as energy efficiently designed sustainable architecture of all types including Solar & Environmental Homes and additions.

Bonnie Poulos, a research scientist at the UofA studying shrimp farming. Paulos has weighed in on numerous Tucson and Pima County issues relating to planning, billboard lights and much more. Pima County Planning and Zoning Commission; 2002 to present
Neighborhood Infill Coalition; 2002 to present
Campus Farm Neighborhood Association; 1983 to present
Aravaipa Canyon Ecosystem Management Plan Citizen Advisory Committee, 2006
Cost of Growth Task Force for COT General Plan; Sept. 2000 to January 2001
City of Tucson (COT) Planning Commission; 1998-2001
Tucson Regional Transportation Coalition; 1993-1995
Pima County Comprehensive Plan Citizen Advisory Committee for the
Southeast-Rincon area; 1991-1992
COT Storm Water Management Study Citizen Advisory Committee; 1988-1994
COT Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee; 1986-1992
North side Area Plan Citizen Advisory Committee; 1986-1987
Pima County Deputy Registrar; 1984-1992

Mark R. Stratton the director or Metro Water which operates in the north west portion of Pima County as an independent water district. In digging in a bit looks like the regional water story started to take shape back in 2005.    Councilwoman Scott stumbled across documents that showed that Tucson Water’s director Dave Modeer (now the head of the states CAP) was going from water department to water department to test the waters on a regional water supplier. Pima County waste water wasn’t mentioned in the original discussions.

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