October 30, 2014 Parched Cities Share Water in the West by Jim Carlton of the Wall Street Journal. University access or subscription required.
A recent agreement by this city and Tucson, Ariz., highlights a growing trend in the drought-plagued Southwest: water agencies sharing resources to stretch limited supplies rather than going it alone.
Phoenix, which gets more water than it can store from the Colorado River, has agreed to send some of its surplus to Tucson, which needs it to lower pumping costs. In return, Tucson will give up part of its share of Colorado River water to Phoenix when needed. The deal finalized in early October comes despite long-standing rivalries between Arizona's two largest cities.
"Any rivalry between Phoenix and Tucson is so 10 years ago," Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said in an interview.
Water transfers between agencies have been picking up across the West in the wake of a drought that has ravaged the region for much of the past 15 years. During Texas' severe drought in 2011, more than 1.7 million acre feet of water were transferred between users, compared with an average of 150,000 annually between 2007 and 2009, according to a 2012 report by the Western Governors Association and Western States Water Council. An acre foot is 326,000 gallons, or about the amount of water used by a family of four in a year.
In August, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California agreed to send treated water to Sierra Madre, Calif., as part of a deal with the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District to ease that city's water shortage. Metropolitan, based in Los Angeles, will get repaid double what it sent in untreated water, as well as the right to buy water from the smaller agency though 2035.
"This is ushering in an era of cooperation where, typically in the past, each player has watched out and protected its own rights," said Dave White, co-director of the Decision Center for a Desert City at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.
Read the entire article at the Wall Street Journal. University access or subscription required.
See below for additional interviews regarding this agreement.
October 21, 2014"Sustainability: Phoenix-Tucson Water Agreement." Dave White interview on Arizona Horizon.
Program Description: Phoenix and Tucson have entered an agreement for Phoenix to store its excess Colorado River water in Tucson. The agreement is of mutual benefit to both cities. Arizona State University associate professor Dave White, who heads the Decision Center for a Desert City and studies water management decisions, will discuss the agreement.
October 3, 2014
Listen to DCDC director Dave White discuss the new water agreement between Phoenix and Tucson which could lead to similar arrangements between other Western cities, in response to drought conditions. Uncommon collaborations will be vital in the future.
Listen to Dave's comments on KJZZ.