Originally posted by Account Closed:
Does anyone know any of any links to quantitative papers written on Arizona’s water supply? Flagstaff this year hasn’t gotten any snow. They’re building like crazy in Phoenix. Last year lake Mead was only a couple inches away from the first declared drought in Arizona. then we got a monster storm and it rose up. But eventually it will go below the mark and Arizona will have its first to declared drought.
Looking for research data on Arizona’s long term water supply.
Gates just got permission to build a city west of Buckeye. There must be water.
Read up on Grady Gammage and his take on it. You'll be surprised to learn that Phoenix has more water tucked away than Los Angeles.
Interesting topic. I live in Flagstaff, AZ and it is crazy we have yet to have a good storm. I heard that this is the most dry winter in 80 years. I am interested to know more too. There is plenty of building going on in Flagstaff as well. Also, very interesting to hear about the city Gates is building near buckeye. I haven't seen much information on Arizona's water supply but I'm going to look into this as well.
I also live in Flagstaff, and since our real estate portfolio is still small I continue to work my "real job" as a water resources consultant (I work for a consulting firm based in Tucson: http://elmontgomery.com).
Naturally the issue of water supply is something that I am very interested in so I'll try to provide some helpful links. The short answer is that its complicated and there is no "one size fits all" answer for the entire state; some municipalities are more vulnerable than others. It is true that Arizona is generally ahead of most other states when it comes to water legislation and planning. We look especially good when compared to California - AZ passed its Groundwater Act in 1980; CA just passed its first groundwater legislation last year. Somewhat surprisingly, Atlanta, Georgia also has a far less reliable water supply than Phoenix. Here is a summary of water management in AZ: http://www.azwater.gov/AzDWR/PublicInformationOffi...
Water resources in Arizona can be summarized into 3 general categories:
1) Groundwater: considered an unsustainable resource because withdrawal rates exceed aquifer recharge rates. Some areas of the state have large groundwater reserves; however, the general consensus is that groundwater is not a long-term solution.
2) Colorado River, delivered via CAP: obviously this is dependent on snowpack in the Rockies. Here is some more info on how they plan to address drought: http://www.cap-az.com/public/blog/258-colorado-riv...
3) Other surface water (e.g. reservoirs such as Lake Roosevelt, Lake Pleasant, etc.): these are dependent on local precipitation and are replenished on a roughly annual basis. Here is a link to a summary of Arizona's surface water supplies: http://elmontgomery.com/status-of-arizona-surface-...
Furthermore, water related technologies (e.g. potable reuse) are on the rise: https://watereuse.org/watereuse-research/11-00-dir...
When a new development is proposed there is a process required to assure that there is adequate water available: http://www.azwater.gov/AzDWR/WaterManagement/AAWS/...
I dont have a concise, peer-reviewed summary of projected water resources for the state, but my personal/professional opinion is that water issues are not new (we have been fighting over water in the west for as long as we've been "owning land" out here), and they are also not going away (job security for me). Compared to many states, Arizona is reasonably well prepared for a hotter, drier future, so I don't think this a valid reason to invest elsewhere.
Happy to discuss further if anyone is interested!
Its something to watch and take seriously. As mentioned ADRE requires 100 proof of water for sub divsions. I almost bought land along Oak Creek a month ago, partly for the water rights. There's a lot to learn. Active Management Areas vs. non managed etc.. AZ Dept. of Water Resources offers a lot of good seminars. Flagstaff city council is working on increasing its backup supply of water (funding for a new generator). I put in a 1500 gal rain tank in case bad things happen.
@Clare Stielstra Is it true that agriculture uses more water / acre than a single family home subdivision?
@Michael Hacker I dont know exact numbers but that is probably generally true, depending on cropping (e.g. cotton take a LOT of water), lot size of the subdivision, and whether or not the subdivision has lots of turf (large grassy yards) or is landscaped with arid-adapted vegetation.
Outdoor water use in single family residential areas can account for a LOT of the total water use compared with indoor use. As appliances become more efficient indoor water use is dropping. Furthermore, many communities have water re-use programs. For example, Flagstaff uses 100% of reclaimed water in the summer for landscaping city parks and the NAU campus. Grass is generally more greedy than entire families enjoying extra long showers.