By Kathleen Ferris
AMWUA member cities are focused on keeping water flowing in and out of your homes and businesses day in and day out. At AMWUA, we’re all about solutions. Always have been. It’s our job.
We’re also well aware of how easy it is for many people to throw up their hands, bury their heads, and ignore a problem that seems overwhelming and out of their control. Others like to grandstand about pending doom. Knowledge is what we all need to move forward with purpose.
Here are six links to six things you can learn in six minutes that will make you smarter about the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area’s water supply. It will allow you to inform others, take action, or simply sleep better.
1. This City of Phoenix interactive graphic will help you understand the Valley’s multiple sources of drinking water and how water flows into and out of the city. (Here is an extra: Want to see Phoenix’s history of water use? Ok.)
2. Valley cities recycle water. This water is called reclaimed water and supplements your city’s water supply. The AMWUA cities are storing reclaimed water underground for future use. The cities also provide reclaimed water for many purposes, including irrigation and to cool the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.
3. State law requires every city to have a tiered drought preparedness plan. The plans incrementally scale back demands for water to ensure supplies meet our needs. Since much non-essential water use occurs outdoors, city plans often target exterior uses. It is important to understand that drought does not equal a water shortage. Despite nearly 15 years of drought, the AMWUA cities’ drought preparedness plans are not currently active. We have weathered the drought because of ongoing conservation and careful planning and management of our water supplies.
4. Arizona’s forward-thinking 1980 Groundwater Management Act recognized that groundwater is a finite supply. If over-pumped, it will eventually disappear. The AMWUA cities have dramatically reduced their reliance on groundwater through conservation, the use of reclaimed water and available surface supplies from rivers. Today, AMWUA member cities collectively rely on groundwater for only about 7 percent of their water supplies.
5. Every AMWUA city has a water conservation program. The cities’ commitment to conservation and efficient water use is decades old and their conservation programs are always evolving. The conservation professionals of AMWUA’s ten member cities meet regularly to share data and ideas, learn from one another’s experience, and to build shared resources and materials for homeowners and businesses.
6. Underground water storage is an investment in the Valley’s water supply resiliency. Over the last two decades, the AMWUA cities have collectively invested $400 million in storing nearly 1.7 million acre-feet of water underground. That’s enough water to meet the needs of the AMWUA cities for more than 2 years, but it would never be used up that quickly because of the diversity of our water supplies.
For 45 years, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit www.amwua.org.