The city of Phoenix likely will be calling on businesses and residents in the future to deal with what are expected to be shortages in water to the state.
City officials met with their counerparts from the U.S. Department of the Interior and Arizona Department of Water Resources last week regarding an assessment of water along the Colorado River.
"Three things are true about this situation: first, it is serious. Second, it will require the city to think differently, and plan differently, for how we use water. Third, we need to enlist the people of Phoenix as our partners in the hard work ahead,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego in a press release. “Researchers are serious when they tell us this megadrought is the worst in at least 1,200 years. The more we can encourage people, and businesses, to think creatively about how to reduce water consumption now, the better off we will be.”
The city's water portfolio includes various sources from Salt River Project to the Central Arizona Project. It is the latter facing potential cuts as the water in storage along the Colorado River in Lake Mead and Lake Powell have dropped precipitously during a two decade drought the Southwest has been mired in.
With 40% of the the city's water coming from the Colorado River via CAP, the city is examining what steps it can take to mitigate the drought's effects, officials said.
"The Colorado River shortage is coming sooner than anticipated," said Phoenix Water Services Director Troy Hayes in a release. "But all the planning and investment in infrastructure that we have done has put the City in a good place to manage the challenging conditions."
Residential use makes up about 70% of the city's water consumption, and officials believe residents can reduce water use between 1% and 5% and make a large difference.
The city also is increasing its conservation outreach effort. For example, the Phoenix Water Conservation team expanded its homeowner's associations outdoor water efficiency program to reach more neighborhoods. After meeting with just six associations, the team identified a potential for more than 20 million gallons per year of savings – enough water to supply 184 families for a year.
As more HOA's participate, Phoenix expects even more water savings, officials said.
For a look at the city's drought action plan, click here.
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