By Warren Tenney
A week ago Sunday, the day after moving to Phoenix, I woke up in my new place to find no water. I was reminded of how easy it is to take water for granted and to underappreciate the thousands of professionals working every hour of the week throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan Area to ensure water flows from our faucets.
My lack of water ended up being a plumbing problem in my complex. Yet, it was an interesting sign as I began my job with the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA). With one week on the job and having no more water problems at my complex, I wanted to share what impresses me about AMWUA and why I am excited to be a part of it.
First, the Valley of the Sun is fortunate to have its ten largest cities working together on water issues as members of AMWUA. We all have a reliable, safe water supply in our desert homes because each city recognizes the benefits of cooperation and of speaking in one voice about water issues. Through planning and investing in our water resources and infrastructure, our Valley is a vibrant and sustainable place for us to live.
Second, the leaders of each municipality know that water is the lifeblood of this region. The AMWUA Board is comprised of elected officials from each member city, which means our municipal leaders are actively engaged in water issues. They are supported by city administrators and water professionals in each city and are working daily to ensure water flows to every customer every hour of the year. AMWUA creates a forum for elected officials, administrators, and water professionals to address and find solutions to water challenges as they arise.
Third, the AMWUA cities – Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Phoenix, Peoria, Scottsdale, Tempe – are leaders in using water efficiently. The efforts that began in the 1980s and continue today have had a significant impact. For example, per capita residential water use in the City of Phoenix has fallen roughly 30 percent over the last twenty years. Even with the addition of 360,000 new residents, the city’s customers are using less water than in 1996. Living in an arid climate, we know the importance of using water efficiently, such as ways to use less water and to recycle our used water. Being wise stewards of our water is imperative for leaving a thriving Arizona to future generations.
Fourth, collaboration among AMWUA members is obviously important, however, collaboration among all various water interests is critical for Arizona. Throughout our history, Arizona has shown by collectively pulling together various interests, crisis does not have to be part of our water vocabulary. This cooperation will be all the more important moving forward. AMWUA is committed to working with the Legislature, Arizona Department of Water Resources, Central Arizona Project, Salt River Project and all other interests to protect and augment our water resources and infrastructure.
Finally, AMWUA is part of why Arizona has done better than any other Western State in managing its water. Water fuels our economy. Sound water management has ensured our successes as a State and will continue to guarantee our future accomplishments. We are prepared for today, but Arizona is at a critical juncture for our water future and we must remain vigilant when it comes to our water. AMWUA is committed to being a part of the solutions.
The AMWUA cities and the rest of Arizona will always have water if we actively continue to plan and invest in our water resources.
For 46 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.