Nestled at 3,500 feet, and 85 miles east of Phoenix Arizona, the Cobre Valley is home to three small towns all grappling with the effects of reduced mining activity, aging water infrastructure, and the uncertainties of climate change. Globe, Claypool, and Miami Arizona all reside within the same watershed, and subsequently share many of the same issues surrounding water:
- reliable sources of potable water,
- groundwater contamination from a long mining history,
- shallow to deep groundwater issues related to old septic systems,
- aging water infrastructure,
- high costs for improvements,
- storm water management,
- environmental considerations, and
- changing economic conditions.
The formation of the watershed partnership seeks to bring together multiple stakeholders from a wide variety of backgrounds to contribute to a Watershed Action Plan with a clear vision, well-defined goals, viable projects, and robust support from the tri-cities community. The formation of the partnership is facilitated with a USBOR WaterSMART grant, and builds on the prior work conducted by the University of Arizona’s Water Resources Research Center. The partnership seeks to be a central hub for ideas and organization in the greater community. In order for the partnership to be successful, it must tackle expected and unique challenges within the community, among individuals, and throughout the bureaucratic environment.
Some of the benefits of a watershed partnership include:
- Increased understanding of the issues
- Increased capacity to design and implement projects
- Improved relationships and trust
- Increased community cohesion and shared purpose