Phoenix's water supply is in very good condition. Although Phoenix continues in a regional period of climatic drought that began in 2000, our water supply is not dependent on annual rainfall. Our water supply originates as a layer of snow located north and east of the valley, which melts and flows into vast reservoirs that store it for delivery during the years of low flow. Arizona faces severe water shortages.
One of them is about to get worse if things continue on this path. Fortunately, Phoenix has been working hard for years to mitigate water scarcity with projects such as the drought pipeline. We spoke with Troy Hayes, director of water services in Phoenix, and Cynthia Campbell, water resources management consultant in Phoenix, to learn more. Two other ideas are to buy groundwater from basins far from Buckeye and transport it through pipes and the Central Arizona Project (CAP) aqueduct to the city.
The canal near the Burruel farm in Eloy, Arizona, is a small part of the Central Arizona Project, a vast network of 336 miles of pumps, tunnels and pipes that transports nearly 500 billion gallons of water each year from the Colorado River. It's a flashing red warning that Arizona's growth-focused economic determinism is colliding hard against severe ecological restrictions. What is happening in the million-dollar homes of Rio Verde Foothills, one of the most chosen places in the Phoenix metropolitan region to live, is a shocking scenario for the future: “buyer care, buyer care, will surely be repeated in the coming decades in many other Arizona communities that are facing urgent water restrictions. The authors of the report projected shocking trend lines of rapid growth and declining water supply, clearly showing that the status quo will not be maintained in Arizona.
Economic pressures to support urban growth and irrigated agriculture, combined with less river water to recharge aquifers, make some in Arizona feel they are on an accelerating course with climate change. The primary intention of the Arizona Drought Preparedness Plan was to establish a flexible framework for refining the state's drought monitoring process, its understanding of the impacts of drought, and mechanisms for limiting future vulnerability. Arizona's booming housing development is another major pressure on the state's water supply. Noting a series of major developments planned for the Phoenix metropolitan area and its surrounding region, a report from Arizona State University calculated what researchers called an “alarming amount of water promised over the next 100 years.”.
Other parts of Arizona rely more on shallow groundwater supplies or low-capacity storage systems that are much more susceptible to dry cycles. The Colorado River is Arizona's largest renewable water source and provides 36% of its supply each year. These declines are worrying, considering that Arizona's efforts to protect its groundwater date back to 1980, when legislators drafted its first Groundwater Management Act. Newly planted walnut trees that are irrigated by finite and increasingly shrinking groundwater reserves in Cochise County, in southeastern Arizona.
And while Arizona has stored more than 13 million acre-feet of water underground to supplement the supply during years of water scarcity, never since it became a state in 1912 has Arizona faced a period of water scarcity so long and profound that science predicts it will steadily worsen. .