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.
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.
A lot has flowed under the bridge since the Morrison Institute issued Watering the Sun Corridor in August of 2011 that 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 in this new piece sharing his perspective about water supply and demand in the Sun Corridor.
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.
The Legislature is again considering 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 offers this analysis of what happened with the 1995 amendments.
The Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute present:
A Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District Report
THE ELUSIVE CONCEPT OF AN ASSURED WATER SUPPLY
The Role of the CAGRD and Replenishment
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.
The Price of Uncertainty
By Kathleen Ferris, Sarah Porter, Grady Gammage Jr., Ana Lopez
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.
By Rhett B. Larson
Climate change as the dominant paradigm is obsolete because it fails to adequately resonate with the concerns of the general public and fails to integrate fundamental sustainability challenges related to economic development and population growth. The water security paradigm directly addresses the main reasons climate change ultimately matters to most people—droughts, floods, plagues, and wars.