While Arizona water rights and water conservation issues can seem complicated, it’s possible to learn more about them and understand them better. Understanding them can help Arizonans see why wasting water is detrimental for everyone. It can also help prevent future water waste and increase water conservation efforts.
Where Does Arizona’s Water Come From?
Even though Arizona is a desert, modern technology has made it possible to distribute water throughout Arizona from various sources. Much of Arizona’s water comes from the Colorado River. About 40 million people rely on the Colorado River as their source of water. One technological advancement that’s been particularly helpful is a series of canals with inverted siphons in the ground. This helps distribute water throughout the state to municipal, industrial, and agricultural entities as well as Native American tribes.
Who Controls the Water in Arizona?
Water is a limited commodity. In Arizona, a governmental body called the Arizona Corporation Commission controls the water. They regulate over 400 water systems operated by about 350 different private water and wastewater companies.
Are There Arizona Water Rights?
Like other states, Arizona has water rights. These ensure that everyone has access to water and allow landowners to access nearby bodies of water for distribution or their own use. Arizona water rights specify that whoever is first to put surface water to beneficial use has senior rights to it.
People who want these rights need to make sure that they go about getting them the right way. In years past, people could simply put up a sign claiming the area of water diversion. This is no longer the case. People wanting to claim surface water for beneficial use must now apply for a permit. According to the Public Water Code and the Arizona Revised Statute § 45-151(A), “beneficial use” is defined as “…domestic, municipal, irrigation, stock watering, water power, recreation, wildlife, including fish, nonrecoverable water storage pursuant to section 45-833.01 or mining uses…”
Tips for Conserving Water in Arizona
Whether you’re using it for a business or your home, here are just a few tips the Arizona government recommends for conserving water:
How Businesses Can Conserve Water
How much water a business needs to use depends on what resources the business requires, but there are steps you can take as a business to conserve water.
Indoor Business Water Conservation Tips
- Take advantage of the EPA’s pollution protection program. This government program helps businesses find ways they can reduce water through their manufacturing processes.
- Put up signage to encourage water conservation. This can be particularly helpful for tourism businesses like hotels and restaurants. For example, a hotel can put up a small sign in each room’s bathroom encouraging guests to hang up their towels and wait to have them washed until they leave. This prevents extraneous water use because it allows for fewer loads of laundry done at the hotel every day.
- Install water-saving devices. Try to find devices for your facility that save water, like low-flow faucets and high-efficiency toilets. It may not seem like they save a lot of water at first, but the amount adds up over time.
Outdoor Business Water Conservation Tips
- Only use plants with low water demand in the landscaping. Arizona is home to many desert plants that don’t require a lot of water. Consider not planting a lawn near your business and using native plants and rocks instead. This landscaping method, known as xeriscaping, is well-suited to Arizona’s arid climate.
- Sweep outdoor areas instead of hosing them off. While a hose can do a great job in getting rid of debris and dirt on a walkway, it’s not always necessary. You can often get the same results just by sweeping these areas.
- Only water the lawn when needed. If your business property has a lawn, only water it when absolutely necessary. Constantly running the sprinkler system can be very wasteful, especially during the daytime. Water it sparingly and at night when the water won’t evaporate right away.
- Capture and use stormwater. This can be especially helpful for watering any plants on your property.
- Get your water from a responsible source. Try to get your water from sources that are known for conserving water. Use a company that uses water responsibly when they distribute to commercial properties. By doing so, you can lessen your business’s impact on the environment.
How Individuals Can Conserve Water
- Be vigilant in fixing leaks. The sooner you fix a leak, the less water will be wasted from drips.
- Wash only full loads of laundry. Putting just one pair of socks in the washing machine before turning it on wastes a lot of water. Make the most of the water used in the washing machine by only turning it on when you have a full load of laundry.
- Use a low-flow showerhead in your bathroom. A low-flow showerhead can be an easy way to reduce water when you shower. You’ll still get the job done without using as much water.
- Don’t overwater your lawn. If your lawn looks green, let it have a break from watering for a while. Switch up your watering schedule a little bit to allow a day or two in between waterings so you can use less water.
While Arizona doesn’t have a lot of natural water sources, its citizens can capitalize on efforts to better conserve the resources they do have. With the right amount of effort and resources, Arizona can continue providing its residents with the water they need.