On Sept. 16, 2022, the West Valley Commercial Real Estate Group (WVCREG) addressed this with an in-depth presentation by Sarah Porter, the Director of ASU’s Kly Center for Water Policy. The presentation was not just an overview – but it highlighted the complicated nature of our water situation, the very smart and dedicated personnel that work within the Central Arizona Project (CAP), the Salt River Project (SRP), and multiple State agencies, and outlined concerns and possible solutions for the long-term ground water supply to support the projected huge economic development of the West Valley.
Sarah addressed the immediate agricultural concerns with the mandatory reduction of the CAP water (592,000 AF) but noted that with much of the West Valley being in a Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRED) anyone relying on CAP water to replenish groundwater taken may have restrictions on groundwater. The fact that Arizona is a “dry” state has forced us to have strong oversight and control of our water for more than 100 years. Because of this we have developed effective practical laws for groundwater, in-state rivers, effluent, and CAP water that will insure long-term water. Many of the laws are site-specific but with practical applications of the laws in-place, the long-term groundwater situation for the cities of Goodyear, Buckeye and all the West Valley should be fine.
Media often promotes a lack of water for Greater Phoenix and the West Valley’s growth. Perception can often become reality and having some solid support for sustained water for the West Valley is critical. Phoenix is where it is in Arizona because the Verde and Salt Rivers obtain water from a huge drainage basin with average annual rainfall of 16 to 20 inches; this is one of the main sources for metro Phoenix water. But this ground water may not be available for much of the West Valley.
Arizona Water Facts
Arizona leads the nation with rigorous water conservation efforts, and because of the 1980 Groundwater Management Act, Arizona has the legal and physical infrastructure that maintains a 100-year assured water supply to meet the current and future needs of residents and industry.
- Arizona is currently below 1957 water usage levels due to increased conservation methods and the decrease in water used for agriculture.
- Arizona has five times (5x) more water stored than we use and has never mandated municipal or residential restrictions on uses throughout our state’s history.
- Arizona has a multi-faceted portfolio of water supplies with the most advanced program for managing groundwater in the country. Our vast aquifers allow us to access water during times of drought, and we’ve been prepared for decades for shortage declarations.
- It is unfounded to group Arizona in with other Western and Mountain West states when it comes to the shortage along the Colorado River because we’re far less reliant than competitor markets.
- Only 36% of the Arizona water supply is provided by the Colorado River; Nevada is 100% reliant, its California’s predominant water supply at 60% and makes up 30-40% of Colorado’s.
- Arizona has 13.2 million acre-feet of water stored in reservoirs as well as underground, with 7.1 million acre-feet of that total stored in Greater Phoenix. Because of the infrastructure in place, we can pull and replace water as needed, making our water supply more resilient during times of drought.
Arizona is a national leader when it comes to the reuse of water. California sends more water back to the Pacific Ocean each year than the City of Phoenix uses in total.
Sarah Porter – Sarah graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree and obtained her juris doctor from Arizona State University, ranking third in her class. She left her law career in 2006 for Audubon because she wanted to contribute to a collaborative effort to address Arizona’s natural resource challenges.
WVCREG – The West Valley Commercial Real Estate Group’s (WVCREG) monthly meetings were established by Bobbie Mastracci of Phoenix West Commercial and offer insight in commercial real estate in the West Valley. The attendees are typically commercial agents, investors, and companies providing services to the industry. Attendance over the years has grown and the venue is now the new Goodyear City Hall.