Fears about future water supply often tend to escalate in times of water scarcity. In a recent article written by Ron Flemming, chairman, president and CEO of Global Water Resources, he reminds us that we all have roles to play when dealing with water scarcity, and water utilities have “a primary and critical role to serve in this regard.”
Arizona has taken initiative to manage its water issues for years—they’ve been forced to given the current conditions with which it is faced. The state has experienced explosive population growth while confronted with over two decades of drought conditions. In combination, these factors contribute to significantly strained resources. Nearly 40 percent of the state’s water comes from the Colorado River which has been over-allocated to seven states for many years, leading to Lake Meade’s current depleted status. This year, as result of the continued depletion, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation mandated reductions in the Colorado River allotments for the first time.
According to Flemming, Arizona is meeting the resource challenge by enacting policies that incorporate a “Total Water Management” mindset. Adoption of projects to support water supply, including the use of reclaimed water and underground replenishment, along with compulsory conservation programs have produced a wide-ranging plan. However, he says that those in the “water business” must be forward thinking and look to new technologies that will encourage its customers to be committed to conservation, including meters that provide alerts when there is elevated consumption and leak detection. Additionally, financial incentives, such as rebates for reduced water usage, should be considered. Taking such actions will advance the future of the water supply while supporting continued population and economic growth. This holds true for not only for Arizona but for all states across the country.
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