7 facts to know about Arizona’s proactive approach to water management

Above: Stewart Mountain Dam stands 212 feet high and 583 feet long. Located northeast of Phoenix, it forms Saguaro Lake and has a hydroelectric generating unit operated mainly in the summer months. Business News | 1 May, 2021 |

Water is an essential resource no matter where you live. Leadership in Arizona has been at the forefront of conservation and strategic planning efforts while receiving national recognition for the state’s proactive approach, according to the Return to Watering the Sun Corridor report by Grady Gammage Jr. Here are some interesting facts that showcase Arizona’s current water supply position and the state’s proactive approach to water management:

• Arizona leads the nation with rigorous water conservation efforts.

• The 1980 Groundwater Management Act was monumental and established laws that enabled the State to manage and protect groundwater for the benefit of all residents across the major urban areas of central Arizona. It also created provisions to ensure this finite water source was preserved for the future.

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• The work of partners at the city and state levels, Maricopa County and the federal government, in conjunction with Salt River Project and Central Arizona Project, has ensured that optimal water supplies and infrastructure are available to meet current and future demands of industry and residents.

• Arizona’s water usage is below 1957 levels even though the population is now six times larger. Plus, the Greater Phoenix area reuses or recharges over 90% of effluent produced in the region.

• Water management is tied to drought and planned growth, and Arizona has made conservation and reuse a top priority as we transform the region into an innovation-centered economy with long term water security.

• Unlike California, Arizona is well-prepared to address and manage water issues. Because rainfall in Central Arizona is unpredictable and often sparse, water systems were designed with robust storage capacity and structured to bring water from distant sources. In addition, Arizona has millions of acre-feet of water stored in reservoirs as well as underground, making our water supply more resilient during times of drought.

• Ongoing investment in infrastructure to ensure the availability of natural resources including water is paramount in relation to Greater Phoenix’s ability to attract continued investment from semiconductor and advanced manufacturing firms.

Water management remains a top priority in Arizona

• Per-capita water use has been plateauing. Arizona will not be able to keep conserving at higher rates using our past methods.

• The Salt River Project together with the Bureau of Reclamation is leading decisive action to mitigate the impacts of climate change by developing innovative infrastructure solutions that improve water system resiliency for the region.

• Physical and legal availability of water supplies is limited in some areas of the state, which will require creative solutions and regional collaboration.

• As a state, Arizona must make policy choices around investment in water infrastructure that enables smart growth to meet the demands of current and future industry and residents through planned growth methods tied to sustainability.

• Water conservation is a team sport. Sustainable conservation will take leadership from residents, elected officials, community and business leaders to assure Greater Phoenix remains competitive for centuries to come.

• Expected shortage on the Colorado River in 2022 has been prepared for and mitigation plans are in place to prevent impacts to residents and businesses.

Learn more about water use in Arizona in the Return to Watering the Sun Corridor report by Grady Gammage Jr.

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