“We want to hear your opinion.”
That according to the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center (WRRC). To prove it, the WRRC has developed a 10-minute survey with which participants can “weigh in on the water future of Cobre Valley.”
To access the survey, go to uarizona.co1.qualtrics.com.
The online survey will close on Friday, Nov. 16.
Funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART program, the Cobre Valley Watershed Partnership (CVWP) is being created over the next two years to implement needed watershed projects in the area.
In 2018, the Bureau of Reclamation funded WRRC to “assess water supply and demand in Cobre Valley,” and to incorporate the findings, along with stakeholder priorities, into a “Water Resources Objectives Report.”
“The survey will be one of our sources of information,” said Ashley Hullinger, research analyst with the WRRC’s Water RAPIDS (Water Research and Planning Innovations for Dryland Systems) program.
Survey responses will “help us get a general idea of the level of community awareness about water issues in the region,” as well as “consensus on the challenges and opportunities” defined at the Small-Town Water Forum, held Sept. 6 in Miami’s Bullion Plaza.
Last month, the WRRC released its summary, acknowledging “the dedication and participation” of the more than 50 people attending the Sept. 6 forum, Hullinger said.
“The quality and depth of ideas about regional water resources laid excellent groundwork for next steps,” she said. “From the informative presentations in the morning to the break-out discussions in the afternoon, participants offered a variety of challenges, opportunities and actions to consider.”
The proposed actions were defined and assigned priorities, based on focus group discussions and voting by participants, Hullinger said at the time.
Coordinating with the Bureau of Reclamation, the CVWP and other community partners, the WRRC is pursuing “research and action planning” around the list of priorities created at the Sept. 6 forum, she said.
The top seven priorities, as proposed by forum participants, are listed here by category:
Develop a comprehensive water budget;
Expand land management practices to better use storm water flows and quality.
Set a framework for private-public partnerships for long-term water supply resilience;
Explore the feasibility of matching water quality to use.
Foster ecological stewardship to preserve, enhance and manage natural resources for resilience, adaptation and restoration/transformation;
Combine and share both knowledge and resources under guiding philosophies for collective impact.
Educate the public and decision-makers to increase awareness and motivate action.
The priorities will be further evaluated through the WRRC’s online survey, with the goal of getting public feedback on the priorities proposed by forum participants, Hullinger said.
At the Sept. 6 forum, “we had well-informed, big thinkers in the room…so we have a great start with our priority ideas,” she said. “To be fully iterative and transparent, we need as much public participation and buy-in as possible. Along with confirming if a larger audience agrees with the priorities from the forum, we would like to poll people on the necessary first steps to achieve those priorities.”
Other ideas generated during the forum’s small group discussions are also being considered for incorporation into the Water Resources Objectives Report, Hullinger said.
The next forum will be held “in the spring of 2019 to report back on progress and move forward with actions,” likely in March, she told the Silver Belt.
The WRCC’s summary states that the Globe-Miami area faces “complex water supply and infrastructure challenges that have impacts on community well-being and future prospects.”
Membership in the CVWP is open to any interested individual or organization.
For more information, or to become involved in a CVWP working group, contact Ashley Hullinger, with the WRCC, at 520-621-8252 or via e-mail [email protected] or Susanna Eden at 520-621-5670 or via e-mail at [email protected]
For more information, visit the Cobre Valley Water webpage at wrrc.arizona.edu/Cobre-Valley
This is the third story in a series on the Cobre Valley Watershed Partnership. Look for future stories in upcoming editions of the Silver Belt.