In 2004 Congress passed the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA) that authorized diversion of the Gila River. This opened the door to a process that could eventually divert water from the Gila River, negatively impacting the riparian ecosystem, as well as the paddling opportunities on one of the most beautiful wild rivers in the West.
In addition, project proponents are actively opposing designating the Gila River as a Wild and Scenic River, the greatest level of protection, although the designation was carefully designed to not include areas with existing water uses.
Paddlers and ACA members Norm Gaume and Peter Coha have worked tirelessly since 2014 to push back against government water development agencies to show the true amount of water the projectcan develop along with the associated costs. The Bureau of Reclamation’s and the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission’sdraft Environmental Impact Statement continue to claim that the project can divert more water than is possible.
Sign the Gila River Conservation’s petition to protect the Gila River, and/or individually comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Providing an individual comment is the most effective thing you can do.
Sign-on to the Gila River Conservation’s petition to protect the Gila River and tell the Bureau of Reclamation to take the no-action alternative.Take Action by June 8th.
Provide your own online comment to the Bureau of Reclamation.
In your comment, the following key points can make the most effective impact:
- The draft Environmental Impact Statement avoids the “hard look” that the National Environmental Policy Act requires.
- The DEIS economic evaluation needs to show the correct higher per acre-foot costs based on the lower amounts of developed water supply as calculated by the Bureau of Reclamation’s DEIS model.
- The downstream effects of daily diversions of 125 cubic feet per second on the river and species in the Cliff-Gila Valley need to be shown clearly, and not be based on long-term averages which mask the actual effects.
- Clearly state that project water users will face extended periods when the diversion project will give them no water at all for a year or more, but still require them to pay.
- Address future climate change impacts on the diversion project according to the Bureau of Reclamation’s written policies.Climate change will decrease this project’s water supply and will further reduce the usable water it might produce due to increased temperatures and storage pond evaporation rates.
- Rewrite the EIS to recognize that the diversion project would expand the habitat of invasive species, and in turn damage protected native species.
Submit your individual comment online by June 8th by clicking here.
ACA Public Policy Chief