The Myth of Safe-Yield: Pursuing the Goal of Safe-Yield Isn't Saving Our Groundwater

Wet area in the desert

Read the complete report.

Read about the report in The Arizona Republic.

Forty years after the passage of the Groundwater Management Act, we are at a crossroads between success and not good enough. As this report explains:

  • Conservation, while necessary, is insufficient to achieve safe-yield.
  • Too many users are allowed to pump groundwater in perpetuity, while others are allowed to initiate new uses of groundwater.
  • Safe-yield has been subject to differing interpretations, complicating the assessment of meeting this goal.
  • Achieving safe-yield will not prevent the lowering of groundwater levels in all areas of an AMA or the inherent consequences of long-term groundwater decline, including land subsidence, water quality degradation and aquifer compaction.
  • Legislation since 1980 has created additional challenges for the sustainability of groundwater supplies in the AMAs.

Too many years have passed and too much groundwater has been pumped to ignore these issues any longer. It is once again time for the legislature and all Arizonans to recognize that new strategies are needed to secure the long-term sustainability of groundwater in the AMAs.