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Long-Term Water Augmentation Options for Arizona

Arizona Department of Water Resources
Phoenix, Arizona
Arizona desert with stream

Project Overview

A statewide water augmentation plan that identifies Arizona’s next large-scale water supply and best practices for water use efficiency

Established in 2016 as part of the Governor’s Water Augmentation, Innovation, and Conservation Council (GWAICC), the Long-Term Water Augmentation Committee (Committee) is responsible for identifying methods of augmenting water supplies in Arizona and improving water supply planning to meet the needs of the state’s growing population and economic development.

The Committee submitted a series of augmentation methods to the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), who tasked Carollo with evaluating the identified methods and selecting the most viable options that may be applied to 22 planning areas across the states. Serving as the project lead, Carollo homed in on key water augmentation and water use efficiency recommendations that not only reflect industry best practices but also continue to serve the unique needs and priorities of Arizona’s water users and stakeholders.

More specifically, Carollo completed the following primary tasks:

  • Identified the most promising new water sources, including ocean desalination, brackish groundwater desalination, and groundwater transfers from the Harquahala and Butler groundwater basins, that are anticipated to augment the state’s water availability by 5,000 to 50,000 acre-feet per year (AFY).
  • Developed best practices for efficient water use, including conserving agricultural and municipal water usage, enhancing aquifer storage, and increasing recycled water utilization.
  • Further refined water augmentation concepts that have the potential to sustainably and reliably increase water supplies over time, including weather modification, phreatophyte management, and watershed management.

In addition to enhancing the reliability and resilience of Arizona’s water, these developed concepts were required to contend against considerable impediments, including adjudications of the Little Colorado and Gila Rivers’ water rights, unresolved Indian water rights claims, and a lack of groundwater management planning in some areas of the state. So that a wide, diverse range of water interests would be represented, Carollo collaborated with a multi-disciplinary steering committee to evaluate and revise each water augmentation idea into options that would be most beneficial to residents.

Today, Arizona’s local communities are equipped with augmentation options that are tailored to their regions, rural or urban, and can be incorporated into their individual water supply plans.

Results and Highlights

Water supply planning that identifies statewide water augmentation opportunities in 22 urban and rural planning areas

Water augmentation methods combined with practices for water use efficiency to maximize identified supply benefits

Water augmentation by up to 50,000 AFY

In support of Arizona’s GWAICC and ADWF

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