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Camp Verde promotes conservation of water

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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It's hard to enforce water rules when someone else owns the water.

Four years ago, the Camp Verde Planning and Zoning Commission was tasked with creating a water conservation program, a sensible move for a community in a desert climate.

The commission members put their heads together and thought about what form a conservation program should take. They questioned if the town should enact a water ordinance.

Community Development Director Mike Jenkins said the commission looked at different water rules enforced by surrounding communities.

The commission ran into some issues, Jenkins said.

"[The town doesn't] own the water company nor do we control the irrigation ditches," Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the commission looked at parts of water rules in other communities it liked and talked with people in the community.

The feedback was mixed, Jenkins said.

"Some people who have been in the valley for many, many years had some problems with conservation," Jenkins said. "They didn't want more restrictions on a resource that's already being looked after by a number of different [groups]."

At the April 4 Camp Verde Town Council meeting, Jenkins asked for direction on where to go now after four years, and most council seemed to agree with the sentiment expressed by those longtime residents.

"I don't want any more ordinances, rules and regulations," Mayor Bob Burnside said. "We don't own the water."

Instead of coming up with enforceable rules, council decided to ask the commission to focus on educating the public.

"It's not going to happen overnight," Councilwoman Jackie Baker said. "But hopefully in the meantime we can focus on the educational aspect of this."

Councilwoman Robin Whatley said the commission should get to work on the issue but there was no need to rush it. Council asked the commission to come up with something by December 2014, the date by which the town must adopt a new general plan, a map to guide policies and decision making. "It sounds like a no-brainer,"

Whatley said, noting that there will eventually be public meetings concerning a new general plan which would include discussion of any new approaches to water conservation education. "We'll have public meetings and hopefully find something everyone can agree with, and if they don't at least they'll know about it and have had a chance to speak on it."

Copyright 2012 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: April 11, 2012

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