Steele quoted in article on Arizona rivers and groundwater pumping

Posted by Lauren Hertel on Wednesday, October 2 2019


Nancy Steele

Groundwater pumping has caused stream flow in U.S. rivers to decline by as much as half over the last century, according to new research by a University of Arizona hydrologist that strengthens the connection between groundwater and surface water.

The research confirms that groundwater losses, primarily due to pumping water from below the surface for agricultural and municipal uses, decrease the overall surface water supply and have caused some smaller streams to dry up. This has a downstream effect that influences water levels far beyond the groundwater pumping location.   


Nancy Steele, executive director of Friends of the Verde River, said the river is essential for numerous reasons: for a water ecosystem in a largely arid state, for sustaining plant and animal species, for providing a transitional zone between the Sonoran Desert to the south and forests to the north, and for providing a space for recreation and outdoor learning. Reduced river flows impact all these benefits.

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