Verde Land & Water Planning Toolbox - logo

Welcome to the Verde Land and Water Planning Toolbox!

The Toolbox is an online resource that provides information about policies, model ordinances, and other tools to improve the integration of local land use planning and water management decisions for local communities.  While the focus of this Toolbox is the Verde River Watershed, it contains information applicable to local communities throughout Arizona.  Prepared in consultation with local planners, this Toolbox assembles model policies, practices, and case studies, drawing upon the experience and success of communities within the Verde River Watershed and beyond.

The Toolbox focuses on three main areas of land use planning and management: local planning at the municipal and county level; state trust land management; and federal land management.  Each Toolbox covers strategies and approaches that are consistent with the planning authorities of each of those entities.

Decision makers and planners in Arizona, as in many states across the nation, face significant challenges in providing for a high quality of life and sustainable economic development in their communities, while protecting critical resources for the future.

Communities in the Verde River watershed have been growing at a rapid rate for the past few decades – and for good reason.  Central Arizona is famous for its friendly and charming small-town communities, scenic beauty, access to a variety of recreational activities, and its outstanding quality of life.  The Verde River, one of the last healthy, perennially flowing rivers in the state of Arizona, flows through this region and meets many needs in the Verde Watershed: the river provides critical water supplies to cities and towns; supports outdoor recreation and agriculture; and sustains wildlife and natural amenities.

Town of Jerome - Morning sun

The hillside community of Jerome, Arizona.

If growth occurs in ways that are poorly planned and unsustainable, it will likely damage the things we love most about living here.  Water is already recognized to be a scarce and valuable resource in our desert state.  Unless we do a better job of linking land use planning decisions with considerations of water availability, growth in the Verde River Watershed is expected to outstrip available water supplies and potentially dry up sections of the Verde River within a matter of decades.  Water managers and community planners are faced with the difficult job of balancing growth with available water supplies and preserving quality of life in the region.  This Toolbox can serve as a forum for sharing ideas and best practices to support their efforts – both locally within the watershed and more broadly in the state.

Local planners and water managers need options to accommodate future growth in a way that considers impacts to the watershed that sustains the region.  This Toolbox provides community leaders and interested citizens with information about options for managing growth and development to achieve the following objectives:

  • Support future development that provides sustainable choices for residents;
  • Contribute to a strong economy by protecting natural resources that drive tourism and community investment;
  • Reduce consumption, reuse water, capture stormwater, and conserve precious water resources;
  • Increase efficiency of water use to ensure all water users – including agriculture – can continue to rely on historic water rights;
  • Save taxpayers money by decreasing consumption and reducing the need for expensive infrastructure to augment water supplies; and
  • Proactively address growth challenges and move toward a sustainable future for the region.

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