Praying for rain is a desert dweller's ritual, but Arizonans know the key to thriving in an arid climate is a reliable and redundant water supply. AMWUA's members are prepared to manage extended drought and potential reductions in water supplies.
The information below will familiarize you with the impacts of drought and the steps that cities in the Phoenix area have taken to ensure residents and businesses will have the water they need.
How have Valley cities prepared to manage ongoing drought and potential shortages?
The AMWUA cities have taken proactive steps to ensure their communities can weather ongoing drought and shortage, meet the needs of their residents, and support economic growth.
When will city drought plans be implemented?
The AMWUA member municipalities continuously monitor and evaluate the availability of supplies and will decide when to implement their drought response plans based on supply projections and management strategies. It's possible that some cities may activate their plans in the near term, while some may not need to launch them for many years, depending on how shortage affects them. Contact your city for information specific to your community.
Will water use be restricted? Will emergency conservation measures be enacted?
Because Arizona leaders made tough decisions early on and because Valley cities have diligently prepared for drought, restrictions on water use are very unlikely in the years ahead.
Many of the emergency conservation measures implemented in other states to address shortages are a long-established way of life in the Valley. Arizona has had mandatory conservation requirements in place for more than 30 years. The AMWUA cities each have well-established conservation programs that encourage customers to adopt conservation as a way of life in the desert.
If drought and shortage continue, and as drought plans are implemented, cities will begin to ask the public to voluntarily increase efforts to reduce water use, above and beyond ongoing conservation efforts.
What else if being done to manage the impacts of drought and reduce shortage?
The Arizona Department of Water Resources Drought Response Program includes mandatory drought response plans, ongoing monitoring, and interagency coordination.
The Arizona Department of Water Resources, CAP, SRP, the Colorado River Basin States, the federal government, Mexico, cities, and agriculture are actively working on collaborative efforts to make our systems more resilient as we face ongoing drought, climate impacts, and continued growth. Examples include the System Conservation Program and the Phoenix-Tucson Pilot. These efforts will allow more time to reduce demands and build additional solutions to manage supplies.
The water in SRP's system starts as snow in the forests of northern Arizona. SRP is working with scientists, government leaders, and researchers to better manage the forest to ensure the quality and sustainability of the water supply.
What can the public do?
Residents and businesses play an important role in helping to manage water supplies sustainably. Converting to drought-tolerant landscaping, learning how to water landscape plants correctly, and changing out old fixtures and appliances with WaterSense labeled models now will start saving water and money that much sooner.
The AMWUA municipalities have resources and professional staff to assist in increasing water efficiency and reducing use. Visit the conservation section of our website and contact AMWUA member conservation offices for more information.
AMWUA member drought plans
AMWUA member drought information pages
Colorado River shortage information
Efforts to Protect Lake Mead
The Colorado River is now in its 17th year of drought, and it is also overallocated. This overallocation means the Lower Basin states are promised more water than is actually available in an average year. Arizona water leaders have been working together with the federal government, partner states in the Colorado River basin, and Mexico to address these issues. Learn more about the issue, the risk, and what is being done.
SRP drought information