Week 3 Rio Awareness

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Groundwater pumping directly affects rivers like the Verde River, Arizona’s last remaining perennial river. Click the image above to watch the Viva La Verde trailer produced by a group of partners in the Verde Valley.

We have reached Week 3 of our Rio Awareness campaign and this week’s theme is “Groundwater: the hidden, critical resource of the Southwest.”

Groundwater plays a vital role in supporting riparian habitats in Arizona including places like Oak Creek and the Verde River. We also rely upon groundwater for our water supply.

In Arizona, about 43% of drinking water originates from groundwater. Similarly, in Flagstaff about 40% of drinking water is drawn from the Lake Mary, Woody Mountain, Inner Basin, and local “in-city” wells. This precious resource is pumped from the C aquifer thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface. The C aquifer overlies the Redwall-Muav aquifer and these two aquifers, along with perched water-bearing zones, comprise groundwater storage on the Coconino Plateau.

Recharge to the C aquifer usually only occurs when snow is melting and running off, and only 2 to 4 percent of all annual precipitation contributes to this recharge (Guest Column to the AZ Daily Sun, March 2016). While snowmelt and rainfall provide some recharge to the aquifer, groundwater pumping has and will continue to affect the environments supported by groundwater. As we plan for the future it will be especially important to consider these tradeoffs as our community grows and the climate changes.

We have just over two weeks left of our fundraising campaign and so far we’ve raised over 40% of our $4,500 goal to support another year for our VISTA member, Chelsea. Please help us meet this goal before April 22nd by visiting our GoFundMe page, “Discovering Science along the Rio“.

Follow us on Facebook during our fundraising campaign to discover something new about the Rio every day!