In June of last year, Tucson demonstrated its prowess in conservation as it was able to return water to a section of the Santa Cruz River that had been arid for over 70 years. In a city that faces a myriad of water challenges, including climate and increasing population size, it has successfully navigated those challenges. Victory can be attributed to the public and private water organizations of the area who have made water conservation a top priority. Perhaps the strongest indicator of that success is that with a greater than 20 percent population increase, “Tucsonans are now using the same total amount of water as in 1985.”
Tucson is using many different methods to achieve this success, such as xeriscape landscaping, city ordinances, rebate programs and water reclamation. According to Fernando Molina, a public information officer and former manager of conservation programs for Tucson Water, Tucson decided to invest early in the development of water reclamation, and that reclaimed water accounts for roughly ten percent of the water used in recent years.
To aid in water conservation, the city has implemented an ordinance which limits “non-drought tolerant vegetation.” This limit includes turf grass, discouraging the planting and the subsequent irrigation of it. Tucson has also targeted commercial development in another ordinance, calling for plans to include rainwater harvesting. The city also initiated rebate plans to replace appliances and toilets with water-efficient models as well as a program for low-income households to replace toilets at no cost. With its varied approaches to conservation, Tucson has proven to be adept at managing its water challenges and stands as a model for other cities facing similar circumstances.
 McVeigh, Quinn. “OPINION: Tucson’s Admirable Water Conservation Efforts.” The Daily Wildcat, 19 Apr. 2020, www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2020/04/o-tucson-water.