Kyl Center for Water Policy
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The Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute produces user-friendly information and tools to help the public and policymakers better understand water supply and use.
The Arizona Water Blueprint is a data-rich, interactive map of Arizona’s water resources and infrastructure. Offering data visualizations and in-depth multimedia content on important water-related topics, the Water Blueprint is a tool for holistic thinking to inform policy decisions and good water stewardship.
The Just Energy Transition Center at Arizona State University Lightworks and ASU’s Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute have inventoried the water used for coal power plants and mines within the Colorado River Basin. This first-of-its-kind research summarizes findings from extensive research to identify and describe the amount, source, and ownership of water rights used by coal-fired power plants and coal mines throughout the Colorado River Basin.
The State of Arizona has released a new 100-year groundwater model for Greater Phoenix, showing that the area’s groundwater is fully allocated. While the model results will not impact cities, towns, and private water providers that have a Designation of an Assured Water Supply (the vast majority of Phoenix-area communities), the model results may have implications for the patterns and rates of new home development.
To learn more, check out the Kyl Center’s explainer on the new Phoenix Active Management Area groundwater model.
The goal of the ASU Colorado River Visualization Enterprise (the "CuRVE Project") is to model the impacts to Arizona of Colorado River climate, hydrologic, and management scenarios. The CuRVE will visualize in an accessible way the potential effects of Colorado River shortages for individual community water systems, agricultural districts, tribal communities and industries across multiple years.
Water Research Publications
The Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute regularly publishes research to inform water policy planning and decision-making.
This primer provides information regarding Colorado River shortage impacts to the provision of tap water. The intent of this primer is to:
• Ensure that Arizona stakeholders have access to the best information possible as they make critically important decisions about negotiating strategies and management of the Colorado River now and into the future. A goal of this primer is to ensure that stakeholders in Arizona have access to facts about the impact of shortages on tap water deliveries.
• Help Arizona stakeholders weigh alternative futures. Arizona must measure the value of any bargain it enters into now and for Colorado River operations post 2026. Understanding the size and location of the impact of deep Colorado River shortages on reliable tap water deliveries is one of the most important considerations in determining this value.
• Help the media better understand the impact of Colorado River shortage on tap water deliveries in Central Arizona.
• Help concerned citizens understand the impacts of Colorado River shortage on tap water deliveries in their communities.
Access to safe, reliable, affordable drinking water is the foundation of public health, economic opportunity, and quality of life in any community. Yet, significant challenges associated with providing and maintaining this access exist across Arizona, perhaps most acutely on Native American reservations and in small, physically isolated rural communities across the state. In this paper water affordability is described and analyzed for tribal and non-tribal communities across Northern Arizona with the hope that the information can be useful to these utilities and groups.
In this report, the Just Energy Transition Center at Arizona State University Lightworks and ASU’s Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute have inventoried the water used for coal power plants and mines within the Colorado River Basin. This first-of-its-kind report summarizes findings from extensive research to identify and describe the amount, source, and ownership of water rights used by coal-fired power plants and coal mines throughout the Colorado River Basin.
If Arizona is to prosper into the next century, our focus needs to turn to what is essential for our future: The preservation of our groundwater and our increasingly fragile aquifers.
This analysis shows that Arizona continues on a path of unsustainable groundwater use that threatens the health and welfare of our state. It is not too late for a course correction, but that will require that Arizonans face the truth and make bold choices.
A lot has flowed under the bridge since August 2011 when the Morrison Institute issued "Watering the Sun Corridor," which addressed the understandable concern that urban Arizona might be “running out” of water.
Ten years later, land use attorney Grady Gammage Jr. reflects back on "Watering the Sun Corridor" in this new piece sharing his perspective about water supply and demand in Arizona's urban areas.
In order to ensure sufficient groundwater to meet projected demand, the state of Arizona has imposed limitations on new subdivisions in Greater Phoenix. At the same time, the Phoenix area faces serious housing affordability challenges. How will the new limits on development impact affordable housing and what steps can area cities take to mitigate those impacts?
Our newest explainer untangles the issues.
For nearly 40 years in its most urban areas, Arizona has prohibited the sale of new subdivision lots that lack a 100-year assured water supply. Originally, an assured water supply meant primarily renewable surface water. But in 1993, the Legislature changed course and created a new path to show an assured water supply using groundwater — a non-renewable resource — with the promise that the groundwater would be replenished with surface water acquired after the fact.
This report examines how this program — the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District, or CAGRD — has worked over the last quarter-century and its consequences for water management and urban development in Arizona. We conclude that the unexpected popularity of the CAGRD has created serious challenges for good water stewardship and recommend changes in the CAGRD to ensure that homeowners in CAGRD have long-term water sustainability.
Examining the Colorado River shortage and what it means for water conservation, residential water users, groundwater pumping, utility costs, urban growth, new water supplies, and water rights.
Water is the foundation of public health, economic opportunity, unique natural areas and quality of life in any community.
Much attention has been paid to the sustainable management of water supplies, as well as the responsible investment in the infrastructure that supports the delivery of safe, clean water.
In more recent years, issues regarding broad and fair access to safe, clean water in a community — water equity — have come into sharper focus.
In 1995, the Arizona Legislature amended the state's adjudication statutes and other statutes that underlie surface water rights in Arizona. Those amendments led to five years of legal challenges that all but derailed the adjudication proceedings. In the end, the state Supreme Court ruled that most of the amendments were unconstitutional.
In 2020, the Legislature considered several measures that would impact surface water rights and the adjudications. To help inform the discussion of these proposals, the Kyl Center for Water Policy offered this analysis of what happened with the 1995 amendments.
What water-related questions do people at the cutting edge of economic development ask when evaluating a site for potential investment? "The Price of Uncertainty" explores how the Gila Adjudication clouds the water certainty individuals, businesses and communities need for sound water stewardship and future prosperity.