BY: Warren Tenney

AMWUA cities have the water supplies for wise development

Published Jul 11, 2023

Since the release of the Phoenix Active Management Area (AMA) Groundwater Model, attention to its findings has grown to include claims that we do not have enough water, which will stop or seriously impact development, including the amount of available housing in the Valley. Some contend that blocking groundwater-dependent growth will limit the supply of homes that can be built, which will in turn, increase the cost of housing in the Valley. Rest assured, land for wise development is still available in areas that have ample water supplies, like the AMWUA cities.

The model’s findings re-emphasize the importance of developing within communities with a 100-year Assured Water Supply. These communities, including the ten AMWUA cities, which support over half Arizona’s population, have diverse water portfolios that not only meet the demands of current residents but also future development – residential, commercial, or industrial - over the next 100 years. These robust water supplies ensure security because designated providers do not solely rely on the finite groundwater supply. Growth, including building both single-family and multi-family homes, in communities with an Assured Water Supply is not just a theoretical possibility, it is already underway.

The AWMUA cities understand the importance of wise water management as they plan for existing demand and growth, both of which has been factored into their 100-year Assured Water Supply Designations They know firsthand that the regional, state, and national economies have succeeded and benefited from the consumer protection ensured by the 100-Year Assured Water Supply Program. Individually, the ten AMWUA cities continue to invest in water by developing new development standards, such as Phoenix’s recently adopted Sustainable Desert City Development Policy, pursuing advanced water purification treatment, and expanding Bartlett Dam to store and make additional water available from the Verde River. They have also supported the state’s investments in long-term water augmentation, reuse, and conservation through the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) . All these efforts better position them to confront current and future water challenges, including the Colorado River situation.

Of course, housing and water each remain complex issues. However, with wise decisions, the Phoenix metropolitan area can continue to grow and thrive economically through sustainable groundwater management. The Governor’s Water Policy Council is already working on proposals to enable further development without weakening the fundamentals of the Assured Water Supply Program. We must continue prioritizing consumer protection and sound water management, which has been critical in building sustainable communities with reliable and diverse water supplies since the 1980s. This unique combination of consumer protection and sound water management distinguishes Arizona as a secure place for continued investment. 

Now more than ever, the 100-year Assured Water Supply Program is needed to provide residents and newcomers to Arizona with certainty and confidence that there is enough water to live, work, and play here. Upholding and strengthening this resilient foundation bolsters our thriving economy, making Arizona a place we want and can continue to call home today and for decades to come.

Check out this BRIEF from the Kyl Center/Morrison Institute for more information about this subject.

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For over 50 years, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has helped protect our member cities' ability to provide their communities with assured, safe, and sustainable water supplies. For more information, visit .