May 31 2022Share

The AMWUA cities are strategically preparing for a future with less Colorado River water

By The AMWUA Board of Directors

For decades, each of our ten desert cities – Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe – have methodically, proactively, and carefully planned and invested in robust and diverse water supplies, critical infrastructure projects, and storing water underground for when we may need it most. These preparations bring water resiliency and dependability to our communities even during challenging times.

We recognize that conditions on the Colorado River are serious and worsening due to historic drought, climate change, and over-allocation. Even if deeper shortages may come quicker than anticipated, we continue to strategically plan for a future with less Colorado River water. 

While each of our water portfolios may differ, none of us rely solely on the Colorado River. 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. Our cities continue to take additional action, which includes:

  • managing the water needs of new growth within our respective general plans
  • reducing water use at our municipal facilities
  • enhancing water loss control programs
  • investing in infrastructure and water supply resiliency projects
  • expanding our customer outreach and conservation programs
  • pursuing new opportunities for water recycling
  • investigating water augmentation opportunities in Arizona
  • accessing water stored underground for times of need

Per state statute, each water provider is mandated to have a unique shortage preparedness plan to address and manage its specific water resources, infrastructure, and customer needs. These plans ensure cities can effectively manage their water supplies when impacted by any short-term or long-term challenges. To date, seven* of the AMWUA cities have implemented their Drought Management Plans in response to the Colorado River shortage. Other AMWUA cities may implement their plans based on their individual assessment and protocol.

We can reassure our residents that there is no imminent threat to our ability to deliver water to homes and businesses. Yet, as Arizonans, we need to recognize that with less Colorado River water in the future, water-wise changes in lifestyle can positively impact how our communities manage water.

Our ten cities serve more than half of the state’s population while using only 11 percent of Arizona’s water. We have been able to do this because of effective management and efficient use of our most precious resource – water. We will continue to build on this foundation to strengthen our collective resiliency to ensure sustainable growth and a thriving economy here in the desert.  

The AMWUA Board of Directors:

Councilmember Bart Turner of Glendale - AMWUA Board President
Councilmember Sheri Lauritano of Goodyear - AMWUA Board Vice-President
Councilmember Scott Anderson of Gilbert - AMWUA Board Secretary/Treasurer
AMWUA Logo 2016Councilmember Curtis Nielson of Avondale
Councilmember René Lopez of Chandler
Councilmember Kevin Thompson of Mesa
Councilmember Brad Shafer of Peoria
Councilwoman Ann O’Brien of Phoenix
Mayor David Ortega of Scottsdale
Councilmember Doreen Garlid of Tempe

*We continue to update the total number of AMWUA cities that have implemented their drought plans. Currently those cities include: Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix, Glendale, Gilbert, Chandler and Peoria.

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 worked to protect our member cities' ability to provide assured, safe, and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information, visit

To stay informed, sign up for the AMWUA blog

Sign Up Now