Our life and livelihoods here in Arizona depend on a reliable, healthy and long-term sustainable water supply. And because of our state’s past and present water planning and management, our communities have been able to grow and thrive with a spirit of confidence that the water supply they enjoy today will be here for them and their families in the future. Today, Arizona’s water comes from diverse sources throughout the state. These vital resources need to be protected and evaluated as our state continues to grow.
Leading the Way To Our Water Future
Arizona has a long history of successful long-term water supply projects and policies. Still, we cannot ignore the threats that pose a risk to its future. These risks include climate change, growth, catastrophic forest fires, extreme weather conditions and extended heat periods, causing mega-droughts, degradation of water quality, groundwater depletion, aging infrastructure and lack of new water supply infrastructure.
Yet in this challenging and arid environment, there is reason for optimism-an optimism that is made possible by the visionary stewardship of business and civic leaders, who work together to reach consensus on policies, regulations and ongoing management strategies for various regions of our state.
Arizona Forward champions this vigilant effort of collaboration so that the flow of ideas is as abundant as the water supply to our communities.
How Arizona Uses Its Water
Approximately 73% of the state’s water goes to agriculture and irrigation
On average, 21% of our water supply goes to urban cities and urban communities
Roughly 5% of our water supply goes to the industrial sector
Arizona’s growth and expansion depends on proactive planning to ensure a sustainable water supply—even with our 100-year water supply policy—we need to work toward the kind of water policies that promote responsible growth.
Before the end of 2026, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior will develop new guidelines for the long-term management of the Colorado River system. The Arizona Reconsultation Process, started by the state’s water supply leadership, will convene dialogue and develop solutions during this multi-year process.
Rural Groundwater Equity
The use of groundwater under the broad reason of “beneficial use” risks equity issues for rural areas.
Separate water laws for surface water and groundwater have created legal battles for years. Striving to take it out of the courtroom, we work with various stakeholders to reach amicable resolutions through collaboration.
Reduced Supply of the Colorado River
As the climate impacts water supplies for agriculture, industry, urban and rural communities, we need cooperative action from these competing interests.
Rivers and Streams
The future of our watersheds and waterways relies on the collaborative partnerships formed with industry, government agencies, private companies and environmental non-profits, who work together to implement forest restoration strategies.
Adjudication of Water Rights
Especially critical during drought and shortages when water is in short supply, adjudication ensures the priority of all water rights in an entire river system (notably, the Gila River and Little Colorado River systems where adjudication is currently underway).
Innovation and technology are key to advancing the promise of this water supply. We continue to champion this exploration as we work toward reaching its full potential.
Innovative Solutions and Partnerships
The business community, local and state governments and tribal communities understand our state’s water supply challenges and are committed to developing the solutions to make it more resilient. Collaboration among stakeholders is key to creating results.
DROUGHT CONTINGENCY PLAN
The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and Central Arizona Project (CAP) led stakeholders through months of public meetings to develop Arizona’s Implementation Plan for the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan (LBDCP). The plan was based on collaboration, compromise and consensus to secure Arizona’s water supply. The adjudication process will extend the success of this effort.
BUSINESSES WORKING TOGETHER
Notably: In 2020, eight major corporations contributed more than $1.5 million to shore up Arizona’s dwindling water supplies in a conservation project with the Colorado River Indian Tribe in western Arizona—the single largest collaborative effort of its kind in Arizona.
INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS BY INDUSTRY
Intel Corporation committed to restore 100% of the company’s global water use to benefit communities where Intel operates. Since the goal was announced, Intel has funded seven projects in collaboration with nonprofits to support Arizona watersheds. Once completed, these projects will restore close to half a billion gallons of water to the environment each year.
Arizona Forward's Role
Through advocacy, issue committees, events and awards, Arizona Forward helps unite and elevate Arizona’s water community to provide the leadership that develops innovative solutions to Arizona’s future.
We accomplish this through action:
- Encouraging collaboration among civic and business organizations
- Providing on-going dialogue and awareness through our Water Strategies Committee
- Hosting statewide events including topic-specific breakfasts, summits and webinars
- Recognizing leadership and celebrating Arizona’s successful water programs and projects through the annual Environmental Excellence Awards program presented in partnership with SRP
Arizona's Sustainable Water Future
LINKS TO ORGANIZATIONS
The Water Blueprint is a tool for holistic thinking to inform policy decisions and good water stewardship for water professionals and to inform Arizona residents. The Blueprint offers data visualization and in-depth multimedia content on important water-related topics.