The Grand Canyon Institute has released Arizona at the Crossroads: Water Scarcity or Water Sustainability? The report reinforces and extends in important ways the recent Arizona State University Morrison Institute report Watering the Sun Corridor, an examination of water resources for the three-county area of Maricopa, Pinal and Pima. Arizona at the Crossroads focuses on the economics of water supply and demand and includes a call for action through five specific legislative actions designed to place Arizona on a path to more sustainable water use.
1. Maximize Arizona’s sustainable water resources, especially reclaimed water. The Legislature should direct water agencies to encourage the use of reclaimed water, where it is physically possibleto do so, for all safe purposes as deemed by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
2. Water customers need better information to discourage wasteful water consumption. The Legislature should require water providers to issue detailed information to customers on water use and clear pricing for each block of water used. Water providers within Active Management Areas should be required to implement tiered rate pricing, including a category of excessive or wasteful, with appropriate rates to discourage excessive use.
3. Simplify laws governing Arizona’s surface-water rights for environmental purposes. The Legislature should create a commission to investigate Arizona’s surface-water legal framework and provide recommendations for changes that will provide greater flexibility in securing in-stream flow and riparian-water rights.
4. Investigate innovative, market-based approaches to water management. The Legislature should create a commission to investigate market-based approaches to water allocation and make recommendations concerning any needed changes in Arizona law.
5. Institute a statewide financing mechanism for water acquisition and infrastructure. The Legislature should consider expanding the authorities of the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority to allow for enhanced water acquisition and augmentation or create a new authority that would have the ability to assist all parties, including private parties, in water-supply acquisition. The Legislature should consider authorizing a new and sufficient revenue stream to fund water infrastructure, including water acquisition costs.
The full text of the report is available online at http://grandcanyoninstitute.org/site/grandcanyoninstitute.org/files/GCI_....