The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is prepared to let Tombstone, Arizona, die. The feds will not allow the residents to use mechanized equipment to repair damaged water supplies.
Wildfires destroyed much of Tombstone and most of their water supply. The city tried to repair the pipes but the government said they might hurt wildlife and they could only repair the water supply if they used farm animals and hand tools. Even a wheelbarrow was too mechanized and dangerous to the wildlife. Meanwhile, Tombstone is under a state of emergency.
Twenty-five springs need to be repaired; 50 to 80 percent of the town’s water is supplied by the springs and one well. As of March 23, 2013, the government has allowed machinery to be used on only a few springs.
This is land that belongs to Arizona and private owners, not the federal government. The town has a shovel brigade that goes out each day on horseback to try to keep the water flowing.