Quantcast

Statewide Arizona Water Study Small Step Toward Sustainability

Environmental Defense Fund

The first ever statewide report projecting Arizona’s water supplies and demands over the next century is a key first step to “ensure that physical limits to water supplies don’t limit Arizona’s economic prosperity or the legacy of its natural resources,” according to Environmental Defense Fund.

“This is the kind of forward-looking process that is needed for Arizona to ensure that it has secure water supplies for the future of its communities and natural resources, including its desert rivers and streams,” said Jocelyn Gibbon, a Phoenix-based water law attorney for the Colorado River program at Environmental Defense Fund. “It also shows the need for a robust, well-funded Department of Water Resources to take a leadership role in developing creative solutions for the future. We need to ensure that physical limits to water supplies don’t limit Arizona’s economic prosperity or the legacy of natural resources that we leave to our kids.”

The report, scheduled to be released today by the state’s Water Resources Development Commission (WRDC) to the Arizona legislature, projects annual water use in the state could grow steadily from current levels of about 7.1 million acre-feet to between 9.9 to 10.6 million acre-feet per year in 2110, a jump of nearly 40 to 50 percent.

“Water is an essential element to Arizona’s prosperity. It is clear that meeting the demand for additional water supplies in the 21st century requires inventive action to be taken and consideration of new ways to expand supplies,” the report concludes. “Arizona must develop a broad portfolio of solutions to meet the myriad of challenges that are inherent in this diverse state. Finally, decisions must be made regarding what solutions will be most effective in discrete regions, how those solutions will be funded, and whether implementation of the solutions requires legislative changes.”

Last year, the Arizona legislature passed House Bill 2661, which created the WRDC to assess the current and future water needs of Arizona.

The commission’s tasks include:

  1. Considering the projected water needs of each Arizona county in the next 25, 50 and 100 years
  2. Identifying current and potential future supplies and the legal and technical issues associated with their development
  3. Identifying possible financing mechanisms for acquisition, treatment and delivery of water supplies
  4. Making recommendations regarding further studies and evaluations

The final report released today includes data and reports from five committees, recommendations related to future studies and evaluations, and the suggestion that the commission continue to meet.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) praised the Arizona Department of Water Resources and stakeholders for their efforts in developing the report information quickly and cooperatively under a tight deadline. EDF made particular mention of the work of the Environmental Working Group established by the commission, which mapped and catalogued natural resources in Arizona that are dependent on water.

“The county-by-county inventory of natural resources dependent on water begins to illustrate how much the continued flow of water in rivers, streams and other natural features means to the state,” concluded Gibbon. “Arizona’s incredibly rich and diverse ecosystems depend on reliable water supplies, as do communities across the state. We have a lot of work to do to prevent those supplies from being depleted.”

The report identifies some next steps that could be taken towards planning for the state’s water future, including evaluating the effectiveness of alternative water supply solutions for diverse areas of the state, and incorporating information about water for rivers and natural resources into future planning. The current report does not evaluate risks to these natural resources.

For more information, click here.

—————

Environmental Defense Fund (www.edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Visit us on Twitter @EveryDayFactoid and www.facebook.com/EnvDefenseFund.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A roller coaster on the Jersey Shore flooded after Hurricane Sandy. Photo credit: Hurricane_Sandy_New_Jersey_Pier.jpg: Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen / U.S. Air Force / New Jersey National Guard / CC BY 2.0

New Jersey will be the first state in the U.S. to require builders to take the climate crisis into consideration before seeking permission for a project.

Read More
The Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu speaks on Jan. 26 during a press briefing on studying the 2019-nCoV coronavirus and developing a vaccine to prevent it. Roman Balandin / TASS / Getty Images

Editor's note: The coronavirus that started in Wuhan has sickened more than 4,000 people and killed at least 100 in China as of Jan. 27, 2020. Thailand and Hong Kong each have reported eight confirmed cases, and five people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness. People are hoping for a vaccine to slow the spread of the disease.

Read More
Sponsored
Healthline ranks Samoas, seen above, as the 11th healthiest Girl Scout Cookie. brian / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Nancy Schimelpfening

  • Nutrition experts say healthy eating is about making good choices most of the time.
  • Treats like cookies can be eaten in moderation.
  • Information like total calories, saturated fat, and added sugars can be used to compare which foods are relatively healthier.
  • However, it's also important to savor and enjoy what you're eating so you don't feel deprived.

Yes, we know. Cookies aren't considered a "healthy" food by any stretch of the imagination.

Read More
Actress Jane Fonda is arrested during the "Fire Drill Friday" Climate Change Protest on Oct. 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. John Lamparski / Getty Images

When you see an actor in handcuffs, they're usually filming a movie. But when Jane Fonda, Ted Danson, Sally Field, and other celebrities were arrested in Washington, D.C., last fall, the only cameras rolling were from the news media.

Read More
A solitary Dungeness crab sits in the foreground, at low tide on an overcast day. The crabs' shells are dissolving because of ocean acidification on the West Coast. Claudia_Kuenkel / iStock / Getty Images

As the Pacific Ocean becomes more acidic, Dungeness crabs, which live in coastal areas, are seeing their shells eaten away, according to a new study commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Read More