By Joyce Hospodar and Marlene Dermody, MEZCOPH PhD student

The Center for Rural Health and Amigo Bravos, Taos, New Mexico, both member organizations of the Southwest Rural Policy Network, held a Clean Water Workshop in Patagonia, Arizona,  Thursday, April 12, 2012, for the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA).

Thirty eight people attended the all day meeting , covering key aspects of the Clean Water Act pertinent to the issues currently being faced by Patagonia residents and surrounding communities. Rachel Conn, Projects Director at Amigos Bravos, led the attendees through an understanding of the basic tools of the Clean Water Act.

Key aspects covered involved knowing about water quality standards and water quality criteria that impact the Patagonia  Watershed. Attendees also were briefed about specific actions communities can take through the Clean Water Act’s requirement that each state hold public hearings every three years which is called a Triennial Review. PARA members and other attendees identified strategies for a key action plan in moving forward. Some key steps communities can take:

  • Be more proactive in pushing for additional uses of the streams off of the watershed.
  • Taking monthly photos of specific streams to show that the stream is intermittent.
  • And getting a good definition of what is surface water.

Different "waters" (like surface waters) have different standards, which in turn provide the levels of protection. The firmest ground to stand on in challenging the mining issue seems to be theTriennial Review, which isn't complete and therefore changes/improvements can be incorporated into a draft, making it easier than re-writing or implementing changes to a finished document.  Other discussions also revolved around sampling waters for testing and the importance of sampling integrity.


Joyce A. Hospodar, MBA, MPA
Manager, Community Health Systems
Arizona State Office of Rural Health Program

Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program 

Location: Drachman Hall, A219R 
Phone: 520-626-2432
Marlene Dermody, MPH
Andrew W. Nichols Initiative Scholar
Environmental Health Sciences

Mel & Enid Zuckerman College Of Public Health
University of Arizona
Tucson,  Arizona


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