Commentary: Investing in Arizona’s water future

Eric Glomski is owner and director of winegrowing, Page Springs Cellars.

Eric Glomski is owner and director of winegrowing, Page Springs Cellars.

Last week, state lawmakers had a chance to hear firsthand the concerns Verde Valley residents have about our water future. Arizona House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources held a water forum in Camp Verde, as part of a statewide listening tour to learn more about the solutions local communities support.

Here at Page Springs Cellars we think a lot about the health of Arizona’s rivers, and how that impacts the landscape we all love. Our goal is to create wines that express the unique character of our surroundings, and that means taking responsibility for the lands and waters we steward.

Part of this stewardship means investing in Arizona’s water future. Page Springs produces the majority of our wines from our own Estate Vineyards. Three of our four Estate Vineyards are located in Page Springs.

In addition, our tasting room is nestled in the heart of the Verde Valley overlooking Oak Creek. This setting provides a constant reminder that we need to do our part to keep the Verde River flowing.

Our passion for restoring the Verde River was well established even before we founded Page Springs. From the beginning, we have said that the river is an indicator for the condition of our community and our landscape.

Water is more than just the lifeblood for our grapes – it’s the key component to keeping Arizona’s business climate strong and growing.

Water is our most precious resource, and in the face of an 18-year drought, our long-term economic future will depend on innovative water policies and conservation efforts.

We deploy ultra-efficient strategies in our water use, and are proud to advance solutions that will sustain the well-being of our communities, economies, and rivers.

Locally, Page Springs Cellars is taking proactive steps to reduce our water footprint by working with the Friends of the Verde River as a multi-year participant in the Verde River Exchange.

This program allows local farmers in the Verde Valley to voluntarily reduce their water use in exchange for incentives or compensation for the unused water at a market rate.

The result keeps millions of gallons of water in the river and aquifers, assuring that farms, rivers, and communities will not over tap our water resources and will benefit from reliable water supplies over the long-term.

As part of the exchange, Page Springs Cellars and other area businesses voluntarily purchase credits created by this program.

This allows us to irrigate our nearly 10 acres of vineyards with reduced overall impact on Arizona’s water supplies. We can make our wine and the river can continue to flow. It’s a win-win for everyone.

We feel strongly that growing grapes, making wine and raising a glass is a cultural ritual that fosters friendship, brings together families, and unites communities. We feel the same about conserving water for future generations. Arizona has a legacy of water innovation and creative problem solving; we are part of something bigger than ourselves, and we know it.

As we approach nearly two decades of sustained drought, we are proud to see many businesses and organizations leading and innovating with new solutions and partnerships to keep Arizona’s water flowing.

We hope state lawmakers left Camp Verde understanding that local businesses are dependent on and committed to Arizona’s long-term water future -- and that innovations are needed to keep our rivers flowing and communities thriving.

Eric Glomski is owner and director of winegrowing, Page Springs Cellars.

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