As concerns grow that Arizona and neighboring states may be facing a water shortage due to one of the worst droughts in history, solutions are being proposed in the Arizona Legislature and by water experts.
The Goldwater Institute issued a report on March 15 in conjunction with the Environment Research Center (PERC), outlining reforms in four specific policy areas to deal with the problem. The report asserts that these proposals would not “require a dramatic expansion of the role of government.”
The federal government plans to pay farmers that draw water from the Colorado River to take less, one piece of a multi-pronged plan to reduce usage.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced a new program that will draw on $4 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funding approved for water management and drought mitigation in the Colorado River Basin. Called the Lower Colorado River Basin System Conservation and Efficiency Program, it will be run by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Through the program’s three components, it will select conservation proposals from Colorado River water delivery contracts and entitlement holders, typically farmers using the water to grow crops.
China imposed sweeping power cuts to households and factories in Sichuan province, including those belonging to major electronics companies where drought conditions have strained the region’s hydropower-based energy production capacity.
Water levels at hydropower reservoirs that supply the province of 94 million people have fallen by as much as 50% in August as China faces its largest heatwave since 1961, the AP reported, citing data from the Sichuan Provincial Department of Economics and Information Technology. After the provincial government ordered solar panel, cement, electronics and fertilizer factories to reduce power consumption, many shut down or reduced operations.
Concerns are growing in Arizona that a water shortage may be looming down the road. Gov. Doug Ducey proposed creating an Arizona Water Authority (AWA) earlier this year in his 2022 State of the State address, but now the Arizona Senate majority caucus is suggesting a simpler plan that would use the existing Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA).
Ducey’s plan to augment water resources, which he forged in partnership with Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) and Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa), would cost $1 billion and include integrating new technologies such as desalination, start large scale water augmentation projects, and encourage reuse and efficiency with current supplies.