Center for Biological Diversity

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


Center files lawsuit challenging Arizona's water laws.

The Center for Biological DIversity, represented by Center for Law in the Public Interest, has filed a lawsuit challenging Arizona's water laws. A stream's base flow, or stream flow during the driest time of the year, comes, in great part, from water seeping from the aquifer connected to the stream. In Arizona, while it is illegal to pump water directly from a stream, it is legal to pump groundwater next to, and directly connected to that same stream, even though reduction in stream flow results from either scenario. This is possible and legal because Arizona's water laws deny the existence of the connection between the stream flow and the groundwater from the aquifer supplying surface water to the stream.

Only 10% of Arizona's historic riparian habitat still survives. In spite of the continuing loss of the surviving riparian areas, Arizona's water laws still deny this obvious connection in order to support the developers, mining operations and farming operations that own Arizona's governor and legislators. The San Pedro River and the Verde Rivers are among those streams most at risk owing to Arizona's faulty water laws. After nearly nine years of CBD work,the legal myth of Arizona's water laws is finally being challenged.

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


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