Thursday, January 26, 2012

Water Must Deal with 25 MM Population Increase

The UA’s Water Resources Research Center held its recent conference to discuss the present and future state of Arizona’s water issues.
Not much new was reported but some obvious views were well taken.  Here is a summary from the
The conference played with ideas to more effectively use water coming into Arizona. Main issues involved choices people make with the water they already have, how not to continue population growth with the little water they receive and more long-term plans for what to do with their water over the next 40 to 100 years.
Joseph Garcia, director of communications at ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, said about 70 percent of water in Arizona goes to agriculture. The rest of it goes to industries and mining, recreational urbanization or landscape use.
“We are not running out of water,” Gammage said, “but we can’t do everything forever. We can’t support continued population growth and also support agriculture and also support the environment.”
Arizona is allotted about 2.8 million acre feet per year from the Colorado River. Because Arizona doesn’t currently use all of its allotted water, it ends up being dumped back into the environment, Gammage continued.
"If you believe that leaving water in the environment is a use, which lots of people don’t, then we are using it all."
According to Gammage’s report, the population over the next 40 years will grow by 25 million or more, leading to an increase in water demand to about 5 million acre feet of water per year.