Center for Biological Diversity

Protecting endangered species and wild places through
science, policy, education, and environmental law.

Contact: Robin Silver, M.D., CBD Conservation Chair 602.246.4170 or

CBD challenges Arizona water policy aiding developers, imperiling San Pedro.

Arizona developers must warn prospective buyers if their property does not come with an assured water supply. The developers receive "certificates of adequacy" from the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) if adequate water is available.

Prior to Fife Symington becoming governor, ADWR recognized the fact that such water supply does not exist along the San Pedro River. This reality was reflected in the issuance of "certificates of inadequacy" in the area where excessive local groundwater pumping is drying up the River.

To aide his developer friends, Gov. Symington's ADWR reversed their certificates from "inadequacy" to "adequacy" along the San Pedro. Governor Jane Hull chose to continue the practice after Symington. Since the policy change, ADWR has issued developers at least 46 certificates of "adequacy" for their local subdivisions and has permitted 1,345 new wells there.

CBD has filed notice of intent to sue the State of Arizona within 60 if ADWR fails to change the Symington/Hull policy that imperils the San Pedro. Governor Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Terry Goddard will now need to decide whether or not to continue the illegal practice.


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