Water is a hot topic in Arizona. News reported lately reflects lower than normal water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell, two storage areas of Colorado River water. Arizona is one of handful of states that receives a water allocation from the Colorado River. With the 23 year drought, Arizona's allocation was recently dropped. The Arizona Drought Contingency plan was set in motion with landmark legislation that allows Arizona regions to share the reduction equally. But now, more must be done to conserve water.
As you can imagine, living in the desert Southwest has it's share of differences from the rest of the US. Arizona is one of seven states that draws water from the Colorado River. States receiving water from the Colorado River besides Arizona are Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, California, New Mexico with some water allocated to Mexico. Due to the ongoing 23 year "mega drought," water allocations have been reduced to help maintain Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the two reservoirs storing Colorado River Water.
4 of those states have been given 60 days to come up with a plan to reduce water usage or be forced into mandatory cutbacks. Arizona, Nevada and Mexico have already reduced their water allocation. Arizona's 21% reduction in water allotment for 2023 is mandatory and is the biggest reduction so far.
Arizona has reduced their allocation last year and this year; and has been managing water since the 1980's with a series of underground aquifers. These aquifers store unused allocations of river water, rainwater and snow melt from Northern Arizona.
Arizona leads the nation in "rigorous water management" according to this article in RISMedia, "Some Fast Facts to Know about the Arizona Water Supply." Arizona is a "national leader when it comes to reused water.
Each city in Arizona is challenged to reduce water usage to make sure we don't use more water than we have allocated. And each city in Arizona has a different allocation from the canal system, rivers and groundwater aquifers.
Scottsdale has requested residents to reduce their water usage by 5%. This article explains some of the changes Scottsdale is making to reduce water usage in public places.
There are many ways in which residents can reduce water usage. This list provides some ideas:
Don't leave water running when brushing your teeth
Time yourself in the shower and turn water off while lathering
Install a water efficient aerator to reduce water at the tap
Eliminate grass; plant Xeriscape native drought tolerant plants with
Shade trees can shade the South and West Exposure on buildings
Install WaterSense faucets to use less water than traditional fixtures
Water efficient appliances can reduce water usage
Capture rainwater for outdoor use
On a larger scale, there are many commercial water reduction programs already in place. One of the most significant water reduction programs is the use of Reclaimed Water for the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant in Arizona, and they are also looking at more ways to reduce water usage.
And there are agricultural water reduction programs in use and in beta. Check out this innovative idea created by an ASU Scientist! My Land is currently being used on farmers fields that are at least 100 acres, which is a good idea since agricultural fields use a lot more water than residences. Their technology is algae based fertilizer that uses no chemicals, uses a lot less water, and continuously improves soil health.
Do what you can to reduce your water usage now. Future generations will be grateful!