Water Consumption and Sustainability in Arizona: A Tale of Two Desert Cities

South Mountain PhoenixIn a very interesting and thoughtful article, ASU Professor Paul Hirt and collaborators tackle the issue of a sustainable water supply for central Arizona. After a holistic analysis of governmental, research and historic perspectives, they conclude that the long-term solution is on the demand side of the problem. A significant reduction in per capita water consumption and total water demand is needed to put Arizona‘s urban areas on the path to sustainability. Such reductions require psychological, behavioral and cultural changes that take a long time. Hirt explains, “The task facing Arizona over the next century is to work just as concertedly and collaboratively and successfully on managing water demand—managing ourselves—to close the water demand-supply gap steadily and intentionally in a way that averts crises, protects environmental resources and advances justice, equity and sustainability.”