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The future of water in Arizona
- AZ Big Media
The landscape at Lake Mead in Arizona looks apocalyptic. Drastically lowered water levels that have left a “bathtub ring” around the perimeter and uncovered junk that was thrown into the reservoir decades ago have changed the ecosystem and impacted the tourism industry. Does that illustrate the future of water in Arizona?
Will the Valley of the Sun face the same fate?
Climate change has produced a megadrought that has reduced water in the Colorado River, which was already overallocated to the seven states in its basin. Cuts in the water allotments were imposed in 2022, and this summer, the federal government increased those cuts. Arizona will lose about one-fifth of its share
The Colorado River supplies about 36% of Arizona’s water. Other water sources come from: groundwater, 41%; in-state rivers, 18%, and reclaimed water, 5%, according to the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University.
ASU’s experts on water don’t have a crystal ball, but their deep expertise leads them to predict definite changes to our environment and lifestyle. The amount of change depends on Arizonans’ willingness to make hard choices.
Here are some of our experts’ opinions on what we might see in the future, based on the science of today.