Collaboration: Key to Arizona’s Strong Water Conservation Ethic

25 May 2021

Drought in Arizona has provided a serious water challenge. But the engineering marvel of The Central Arizona Project along with planning, managing, collaboration and cooperation devised a drought mitigation plan years in advance to respond to shortages. CAP's Colorado River Programs Manager Chuck Collum and Lake Pleasant Water Control Manager Don Crandall explains how it all works on Rosie On The House's May 29th Outdoor Living Hour Broadcast.


Collaboration: Key to Arizona’s Strong Water Conservation Ethic

It’s no secret that Arizona’s population has grown steadily over the years. Since 1955, it has grown five-fold. But here’s an amazing fact – due to significant investments in conservation, water reuse and infrastructure, our water use is essentially the same as it was more than half a century ago!

Rosie on the House CAP Water Holding SuperstitionsThis is an astounding – and reassuring – fact. Especially when you consider that the Colorado River Basin, which provides water for 80% of the state’s population, has experienced more than two decades of drought. That, will likely lead to the first-ever declared shortage on Colorado River in 2022.

That sounds ominous – and it is serious – but it’s important to know that Arizona is prepared. While these reductions will fall largely to central Arizona agricultural users, water supplies for cities will not be affected and tribal supplies remain secure.

We’ve long understood the risks to the Colorado River system and we have a strong and successful history of collaboration – with cities, tribes, agriculture, environmental groups, and businesses at the table. With more than 125 years of experience in adapting to one of the most arid climates in the nation, Arizona has been proactively building resilience and innovative water management strategies to secure adequate water for our future.

Arizona leads the nation with rigorous water conservation and sustainability laws that protect Arizona water users and reduces reliance on the use of unsustainable groundwater supplies in the State's most heavily populated areas. With its requirement of a 100-year renewable water supply for all new development, together with water conservation mandates for municipal, industrial, and agricultural water users, Arizona’s comprehensive 1980 Groundwater Management Act is known as one of the most robust water management strategies in the United States.

Rosie on the House Canal Picacho Pumping Plant Aerial

As reported in the 2021 A Joint Plan BY AWBA, ADWR AND CAP, Arizona’s engagement in collaborative long-term planning and comprehensive strategies has allowed for the underground storage of more than four million acre-feet of water to provide back-up supplies to Arizona's municipal, industrial, and Native American water users (that’s enough to serve 12 million families for a year – a lot of water!).

While Arizona water managers have been diligently working on these issues, you can do your part, as well. Here are some resources to get you started:

  • Visit for 100 tips on how you can save water.
  • The Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has amazing ideas and photos to inspire your conservation-friendly landscaping.
  • You can learn more about Arizona’s water conservation ethic at AZWaterFacts.
  • Learn more about Arizona’s engineering marvel, the Central Arizona Project, which brings Colorado River water into Arizona at
  • It is important to realize that , on averagage, 75% of a homeowners consumption is used for landscaping. Taking shorter showers will help but, xeriscaping is exponentially more effective in saving water.

Want to go for deep dive into Arizona’s water? Learn about the large canal that brings water across the state to more than 80 percent of Arizonans – how it works, where the water comes from, the history of how it was built and its future plans.

Upcoming CAP Event

Central AZ Project (CAP) University | Virtual Learning

CAP University is an educational program for members of the public to increase awareness and knowledge about Central Arizona Project. Sign up today for our FREE Introduction to CAP course!

  • Virtual High-Level Overview of the CAP System
  • Presented by CAP Board Members and leadership team.
  • Tuesday, June 15, 2021
  • 9:00 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Learn More

Register Here


Sponsored BY: Central Arizona Project (CAP)

cap logoCentral Arizona Project (CAP) is Arizona's single largest resource for renewable water supplies. CAP delivers Colorado River water to Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties. More than 5 million people, or more than 80% of the state's population, live in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties, where CAP water is delivered. CAP carries water from Lake Havasu near Parker to the southern boundary of the San Xavier Indian Reservation southwest of Tucson. It is a 336-mile long system of aqueducts, tunnels, pumping plants and pipelines and is the largest single resource of renewable water supplies in Arizona.


Photo Credits

  • CAP
  • Shutterstock


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