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AMWUA Blog
BY: AMWUA Staff

Expanding Conservation Efforts Brings Results

Published Dec 12, 2023

Over the course of the past few years, the attention to water has continued to intensify, and the spotlight on conservation has grown. While some may question what Arizona and municipal water providers are doing regarding water conservation, the AMWUA cities have remained committed to expanding and advancing water conservation within their respective communities.

Since the 1980s, the AMWUA cities have developed proactive conservation programs that have exceeded State requirements and steadily built a strong conservation culture for their communities. That dedication to wise water management and efficient water use is evident by the fact that the ten AMWUA cities collectively provide water to 3.7 million residents, more than half of the state's population, but only use 11% of Arizona's water.

Here are additional key facts that demonstrate the current impact of water conservation in Arizona and among our member municipalities:

  • In 2022, AMWUA members have collectively incentivized the conversion of 573,334 square feet of grass, saving at least 11 million gallons of water – a 75% increase in grass removed since 2021.
     
  • Since 2021, the AMWUA cities have added and enhanced close to 40 programs tailored to advance water conservation with HOAs, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers.
     
  • Arizona requires municipal water users to have a system loss of no more than 10%. In 2022, the AMWUA cities collectively had an average system water loss of only 5.19%, well below the national average of 16%.
     
  • Since 2022, the AMWUA cities have added more than 35 new or expanded rebate programs targeting landscape conversions, efficient indoor fixtures, water-efficient technologies and smart irrigation systems, water use monitoring equipment, and neighborhood grants.
     
  • In 2022, almost 35,000 residents attended free classes and workshops about landscape design, plant selection, planting techniques, landscape maintenance, water-efficient irrigation, and the importance of overall water efficiency.
     
  • For decades, AMWUA members have proactively worked to minimize water waste through ordinances and outreach. To further expand those efforts, in 2022, they issued a combined total of over 108,000 high-water use notifications to recommend methods to reduce water consumption. This also prompted over 2,000 in-person consultations and site visits to offer additional assistance. 
     
  • With over 106 ordinances on plumbing requirements, water waste prohibitions, and limitations on grass already in place, member cities continue to add new or modified policies and development standards to ensure smart and sustainable growth.
    • Recent examples include Scottsdale’s ordinance prohibiting grass in new residential front yards and the City of Phoenix's adoption of rezoning stipulations, regulations on non-functional turf, requirements for EPA WaterSense certifications, outdoor irrigation, and swimming pool standards.
       
  • The AMWUA cities collectively employ 45 water conservation professionals who work collaboratively to manage and administer more than 300 water conservation best management practices.
     
  • The State of Arizona allocated $200 million for conservation programs and projects across the state. The ten AMWUA cities submitted more than 40 applications targeting turf rebates and removal, advanced metering infrastructure, and water efficiency technologies for a projected yearly water savings of approximately 12,267 acre-feet (nearly 4 billion gallons). These efforts are in addition to their existing comprehensive programs, which have been individually funded.
     
  • Several AMWUA cities signed the multi-agency Colorado River Basin MOU in 2022 as part of their commitment to increase water efficiency and reduce non-functional grass quantity by 30% with drought-tolerant landscaping while maintaining vital urban landscapes that benefit their communities.
     
  • All AMWUA Members remain in the current stage of their respective Drought and Shortage Plans even though the Colorado River will return to a Tier 1 Shortage in 2024.


We all recognize that conservation actions are more vital than ever as pressures on our water supplies increase. While reducing your individual water use won't solve supply issues like the Colorado River shortage, all conservation measures enable your water provider to maximize and stretch its water supplies, which are crucial when dealing with the consequences of a historic drought and shortages. And just as they always have, the AMWUA cities remain committed to continually building upon past and current conservation efforts. This is vital to ensure reliable and resilient water supplies now and for future generations.

 To learn more about the available conservation programs and resources, Ask An Expert . We also have plenty of information about What You Can Do  to help you by making water-wise changes.

 A printable version of our conservation facts can be found HERE .

To print or save this week's blog, a PDF version is available HERE .

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 www.amwua.org .