Study projects Arizona water use for next century

Arizona's Water Resources Development Commission (WRDC) has released the first ever statewide report projecting Arizona's water supplies and demands over the next century...

PHOENIX, AZ, Oct. 6, 2011 -- Arizona's Water Resources Development Commission (WRDC) has released the first ever statewide report projecting Arizona's water supplies and demands over the next century.

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The report projects that 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; and
4. Making recommendations regarding further studies and evaluations.

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

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.

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