Republic: Foresight is key to water future

Monday, April 18, 2016

An opinion piece in The Arizona Republic asks “What will today’s Arizonans do for those who turn on the faucet in 50 years?” Supply and demand will be a challenge and lasting solutions will require the kind of political wisdom that led to the Central Arizona Project, the Ground Water Management Act of 1980 and impressive conservation efforts.

Fortunately, there are impressive efforts to build the critical mass of support by raising public awareness and looking for innovative new solutions, such as the Water Innovation Challenge, an initiative of the Arizona Community Foundation, Morrison Institute for Public Policy and Republic Media.

“It is our hope that this prize will incentivize communities across Arizona to move forward, and fully implement innovative water sustainability solutions -- be they brand new, off the self, or shovel ready,” says Steven Seleznow, head of the foundation and Morrison Institute Distinguished Fellow.

This will be the second New Arizona Prize, awarded to “a community-based team in an Arizona municipality that develops the most innovative and inventive market-based, technological or entrepreneurial solution to advance the sustainability of its water future,” according to the website newarizonaprize.org

The first New Arizona Prize, the Water Consciousness Challenge, awarded $100,000 to create “Beyond the Mirage: Arizona’s Water Reality,” which will air at 10 p.m. May 16 on KAET 8.

Another tool to build a better water future comes from the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute. The “Water Index,” a website that will go live next week, will offer key information about how cities and towns are managing water.

Sarah Porter, director of the center, says the index will allow people to evaluate the “water resiliency” of cities in Arizona and surrounding states, as well as helping the cities assess themselves.

It’s a practical tool meant to promote informed public conversations about water, she says.

In the past, Arizona had strong leaders who worked together to secure water for our state. But Arizonans can no longer take that for granted. Building on our legacy of wise water choices will take the active participation of all Arizonans.

Read: Our View: Arizona's water is everybody's business