Advertisement

Hydrogeology Journal

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 52–65 | Cite as

Managing for sustainability in an arid climate: lessons learned from 20 years of groundwater management in Arizona, USA

  • Katharine L. Jacobs
  • James M. Holway
Paper

Abstract

Substantial progress has been made within central Arizona in moving towards a more sustainable water future, particularly in transitioning the urban demand from a primarily nonrenewable groundwater-based supply1 to increasing dependence on the Colorado River, Salt River and effluent. Management efforts include a wide range of regulatory and voluntary programs which have had mixed success. The Department of Water Resources has learned a number of key lessons throughout the years, and this paper attempts to establish the water management context and identify those lessons for the benefit of others who may want to evaluate alternative approaches to groundwater management. Themes to be discussed include evaluating water management approaches in a public policy context, the effectiveness of alternative management approaches and the relative merits of regulatory vs. nonregulatory efforts, and the importance of high-quality data in making management decisions.

Footnotes
  1. 1.

    Groundwater use in many areas of Arizona greatly exceeds the natural replenishment of the aquifer, so although a portion of the groundwater use is renewable, the majority is not.

Keywords

Groundwater management Conjunctive management Arizona water management Water policy Water conservation Sustainability 

Résumé

De nets progrès ont été faits dans le centre de l’Arizona pour aller vers une gestion plus durable de l’eau, en particulier en reportant la demande urbaine d’une alimentation basée sur l’eau souterraine primitivement non renouvelable sur une dépendance croissante des rivières Colorado et Salt et des effluents. Les efforts de gestion portent sur une large gamme de programmes de réglementation et d’actions volontaires qui ont réussi. Le Département des Ressources en Eau a appris un certain nombre de leçons clés au cours des années ; cet article tente d’établir le contexte de gestion de l’eau et d’identifier ces leçons pour le bénéfice de ceux qui cherchent à évaluer des approches alternatives de gestion de l’eau souterraine. Les thèmes à discuter portent sur l’évaluation des approches de gestion de l’eau dans un contexte de politique publique, l’efficacité d’approches alternatives de gestion et les mérites relatifs d’efforts de réglementation par rapport à une absence de réglementation, et l’importance de données de haute qualité dans la prise de décisions de gestion.

Resumen

Se ha logrado un progreso substancial en el centro de Arizona para conseguir un futuro más sustentable del agua, particularmente al trasladar la demanda urbana desde un suministro basado principalmente en aguas subterráneas no renovables hacia una mayor dependencia de las aguas superficiales de los ríos Colorado y Salado y de los efluentes de aguas depuradas. Los esfuerzos de gestión incluyen un amplio rango de programas legales y voluntarios que han tenido un éxito combinado. El Departamento de Recursos Hídricos ha aprendido diversas lecciones clave a lo largo de los años, y este artículo intenta establecer el contexto de la gestión del agua e identificar lo averiguado para beneficio de terceros que quieran evaluar enfoques alternativos para gestionar las aguas subterráneas. Entre los temas tratados, destaca la evaluación de los enfoques de gestión del agua en un contexto político público, la efectividad de enfoques alternativos de gestión y los méritos relativos de los esfuerzos regulativos y no regulativos, y la importancia de los datos de alta calidad para la toma de decisiones de gestión.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Kenneth Seasholes, Arizona Department of Water Resources, for his contributions to this paper.

References

  1. Arizona Department of Water Resources (1994) Arizona water resources assessment. Arizona Department of Water Resources, Phoenix, ArizonaGoogle Scholar
  2. Brundtland Commission (1987) Our common future. World Commission on Environment and Development, New York, Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  3. Connall D Jr.(1982) A history of the Arizona Groundwater Management Act Arizo State Law J (2)313–343Google Scholar
  4. Glennon RJ (2002) Water follies: groundwater pumping and the fate of America’s fresh waters Island Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  5. Glennon RJ, Maddock T III (1977) The concept of capture: the hydrology and law of stream/aquifer interactions. Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Westminster, Colorado, pp 89Google Scholar
  6. Governor’s Water Management Commission (2001) Interim Report: Meeting the challenge, transition to renewable supplies, Arizona Department of Water Resources, PhoenixGoogle Scholar
  7. Grant D (1987) The complexities of managing hydrologically connected surface water and groundwater under the appropriation doctrine. Land Water Law Rev 22:63–64Google Scholar
  8. Leshy JD, Belanger J (1988) Arizona law where ground and surface water meet. Ariz State Law J 20:657–748Google Scholar
  9. Lowi TJ (1972) Four systems of policy politics and choice. Public Admin Rev 32:298–310Google Scholar
  10. Tellman B (1994) My well vs. your surface water rights: how western states manage interconnected groundwater and surface water. Issue Paper No. 15, University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center, Tucson, ArizonaGoogle Scholar
  11. The Supreme Court of the State of Arizona (2000) The general adjudication of all rights to use water in the Gila River system and source. Case No. 188 Ariz. 330, 9P.3d 1069, Maricopa County Superior Court Clerk’s Office, Phoenix, ArizonaGoogle Scholar
  12. Western Regional Climate Center (2002) Comparative data. Western Regional Climate Center, Reno, NevadaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Water Resources Research CenterUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Arizona Department of Water ResourcesPhoenixUSA

Personalised recommendations