Phoenix won’t cut water use because California would take saved gallons

An Arizona water official said Phoenix will not yet require residents to conserve water, fearing the action would not actually benefit the Colorado River and would instead be diverted to other states struggling with drought.

Cynthia Campbell, the city’s water resource management consultant, told WBUR’s Peter O’Dowd that the city will not require residents to conserve water by imposing bans on watering lawns. However, it will pay residents to kill their grass and replace it with a more drought-resistant landscaping option like gravel.

“When you force people to do something, they instantly harden up,” Campbell said. “If we forced them to do more now and not use as much water, what would happen? That water would likely go to another user in California. So it’s not like it’s water that’s being stored in Lake Mead and helping the reservoir in any way.”

The Colorado River is facing a historic drought
Lake Mead’s white bathtub ring seen at sunrise shows the historic drop in water levels near the Hoover Dam September 16, 2022 in Boulder City, Nevada. The federal government has proposed an unprecedented plan to cut water supplies for Arizona, Nevada and California, where millions of people depend on water and electricity, as climate change-induced drought continues to lower water levels in the nation’s largest reservoir. An Arizona official said the state will not yet require residents to restrict water use.
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Drought on the Colorado River

The effort is the latest in a series of attempts by different states to limit water use, particularly water from the Colorado River. Drought has been drying out the river and its reservoirs for years. Lake Mead and Lake Powell, two of the river’s main reservoirs, are said to be only 25 percent full, according to the WBUR episode. The Salt Lake Grandstand reported that in 2000 they were operating at 95 percent capacity.

Arizona is one of several states set to get new Colorado River water use regulations in January, according to a CNN report. Early in the new year, Arizona will lose 20 percent of its water supply from the Colorado River, the most drastic of the cuts required federally. Nevada and Mexico must also reduce their consumption.

California is not yet required to stop using the river, although Gov. Gavin Newsom has urged residents to limit their water supplies and the state water agency has banned “wasteful water-use practices,” such as B. Watering lawns within two days of a rainstorm, according to the California Review.

Conservation Efforts in Phoenix

Phoenix gets 40 percent of its water from the Colorado River. Over time, the drought has affected Arizona’s people in their daily lives, with noticeable changes in people’s gardens.

Local residents have sacrificed their farms to drought for decades. WBUR reported that in the 1970s, 80 percent of Arizona residents’ front and back yards were lush grass. More recently, that number has dropped to 9 percent.

Campbell said mandates are not yet needed to conserve water, and Arizona residents are already taking action of their own. Campbell called the lifestyle change a “metamorphosis.”

“We showed them how to live a desert lifestyle,” she told WBUR. “They have embraced and adapted to the climate they live in, rather than trying to bring the climate they came from to Phoenix.”

news week contacted the City of Phoenix Water Services for comment. Phoenix won’t cut water use because California would take saved gallons

Rick Schindler

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