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Opinion: Protecting our water supply in 2023 is vital


We recognize that water is the lifeline of our communities — it’s a necessity, not a luxury — and delivering water to our residents, schools, health facilities and commercial customers that create our local economy is a responsibility we take very seriously.

For decades, the city of Glendale, along with the nine other cities that make up the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AWMUA), have methodically, proactively, and carefully built robust and diverse water supplies while investing in critical infrastructure projects and storing water underground for when we may need it most. These long-term preparations bring water resiliency and dependability to our community, even during challenging times.

The Colorado River is facing a crisis. As conditions on the Colorado River worsen, our city leaders, managers and employees recognize the situation is serious and continue to strategically plan for a future with less water. With the request for additional reductions by the federal government in 2023, we know we will have even less Colorado River water than initially anticipated.

With the unpredictability of what additional reductions will be required, operational challenges arise for meeting water demands. Yet we continue to look for innovative and attainable solutions to this uncertainty by preparing for the worst-case scenario and every scenario in between; analyzing infrastructure needs to ensure water can be moved where needed; and optimizing treatment facilities and access to other water supplies.

Yes, the Colorado River shortage will impact one of our water supplies, but the city of Glendale and the other AMWUA cities have more than enough water to meet the water demands of all our customers during the Tier 2a Shortage in 2023. We are fortunate to also have access to Salt and Verde River water, reclaimed water, and groundwater. Yet, when a shortage impacts one source of supply, we are reminded of the importance of being good stewards of all water.

Conservation actions are more vital than ever as pressures on our water supplies increase. While reducing your water use won’t solve the Colorado River shortage, conservation enables cities to maximize and stretch their water supplies — this is crucial when dealing with the consequences of a historic drought and shortages. To help everyone be more efficient with their water use, our dedicated staff has worked to develop robust conservation programs and resources for our residents — all of which have contributed to the strong culture of conservation we have collaboratively built with neighboring municipalities across the Valley.

Moving forward in this time of uncertainty for the Colorado River, our commitment to continually provide our community with safe, secure, and reliable water supplies remains a critical priority. Yet the Colorado River crisis cannot be solved by the cities alone. It will take more than voluntary actions to ensure durable reductions are achieved by all users, in every sector, across the Colorado River Basin if we are going to be able to stabilize the Colorado River so it remains a resource in our future.

This is vital to the resiliency of our communities.

In the meantime, we will continue to work with our regional partners for innovative solutions, plan, manage, and invest in our water resources, infrastructure, and conservation efforts, so we can continue to thrive in our desert communities.

Editor’s note: A fifth-generation Glendalian, Bart Turner has served on the AMWUA board of directors since December 2014, and in 2020 was elected to  serve as that body’s vice president. Turner has served on the Glendale City Council since 2014, including his reelection in 2022.