More than 90 percent of our water supply is surface water that originates as snow in the mountains north and east of Phoenix. As the snow melts, it flows into the reservoirs of the Colorado, Salt and Verde rivers, where it is stored for future release to our water treatment plants. Surface water from lakes, rivers and streams is Arizona's main renewable resource. Because of our desert climate, the amount of surface water available can vary from year to year, season to season, and location to location.
To make the most of surface water when and where it's needed, storage tanks and supply systems have been built across the state. The most notable are the main reservoir storage systems located in the Salt, Verde, Gila and Agua Fría rivers. Most discussions about the future of water availability in Arizona begin with a discussion about Phoenix water. Phoenix is a wonder in terms of water management.
Most of the water that Phoenix residents use every day comes from the Salt River Project, which uses a diverse canal system to carry water from the Salt and Verde rivers. The Central Arizona Project uses a similar system to divert water from the Colorado River. The city obtains much of the water from the Colorado River through the Central Arizona Project (CAP). Because of the increasing pressure on water sources in Arizona, farms have also turned to groundwater as a source of water.
Arizona has 13.2 million acre-feet of water stored in both reservoirs and underground, and 7.1 million acre-feet of that total are stored in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Central Arizona's water supply comes from three main sources: the Colorado River, the Salt and Verde river systems, and groundwater. Drought-resistant crops and complex irrigation systems are being researched, but the fact is that increasing conservation efforts is the main way to ensure that Arizona has enough water in the future. Arizona has a multifaceted portfolio of water supplies with the most advanced program for managing groundwater in the country.
On average, semiconductor factories recycle and reuse between 75 and 85% of the water spent during the manufacturing process, and many companies exceed this mark, with industrial use accounting for only 5% of Arizona's annual water use. When fully utilized, the Central Arizona Project will deliver an average of 1.5 million acres of Colorado River water to Maricopa, Pinal and Pima Counties. Cotton and hay make up a large part of the crop, but beans, corn, beef and vegetables are part of the cornucopia that Arizona produces. In early June, the city of Phoenix activated a phase 1 water alert and its drought management as a result of this year's cuts in water allocation for the Colorado River in Arizona.
Low-flow, energy-efficient appliances have gained popularity and momentum in Arizona, in part as a result of growing concern about water availability. It's the type of water waste that the city expects people to recognize one home at a time, since Mesa also gets 53% of its water from the Central Arizona Project. Arizona has the junior water position along the Colorado River and that has been the case since 1968, when the Central Arizona Project was authorized. The Central Arizona Project (CAP) transports water about 190 miles from the Colorado River to Lake Havasu, on the border between Arizona and California, through a system of canals to Phoenix, Tucson and beyond.