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Challenging Unsustainable Water Use in the San Pedro River

The San Pedro River.

The San Pedro River is a remnant of a once extensive network of desert riparian corridors that traversed the Southwest.

Melanie Kay / Earthjustice

What's at Stake

Arizona's "River of Life", the San Pedro River is a remnant of a once extensive network of desert riparian corridors that traversed the Southwest.

Case Overview

Recognized as a world heritage natural area by the United Nations World Heritage program, the San Pedro River supports 400 species of birds (nearly half of the U.S. total), 100 species of butterflies, 83 species of mammals and 47 species of amphibians and reptiles.

The San Pedro is the Southwest's last surviving undammed desert river, threatened by local groundwater pumping that intercepts water that would ordinarily move from the aquifer seeping through the riverbanks to provide surface flow to the river. Reduction of the river’s flows have already adversely affected the riparian and wetland vegetation surrounding the river, as well as species dependent on riparian habitat.

Case ID

2413, 2459, 3139

Attorneys

Case Updates

March 9, 2016 | Legal Document

ESA 60 day notice for CWA 404 Permit

Notice of Intent to Sue for violations of Endangered Species Act in connection with Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit No. 2003-00826-SDM

June 10, 2014 | Press Release: Victory

Court Upholds the San Pedro River’s Right to Water

Arizona Superior Court Judge Crane McClennen today reversed and vacated the Arizona Department of Water Resources’ (ADWR) approval of a massive groundwater pumping project that would have drained the Upper San Pedro River in Southern Arizona.  The court concluded tha

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