Arizona Water Sources – Every Drop Counts


The resource that fuels our daily lives begins with a thunderstorm or snowfall on the mountains. Arizona Water Sources power our communities, lifestyles and recreation and provides our drinking water. Water is our most precious resource and a resource that is becoming scarce. A drought that began in 1999 has reduced available surface water. Our overgrown forests and devastating fires are stealing from the watersheds. The explosive population growth is increasing demands while the supply becomes more stressed.

The outlook for the state depends on the water conservation decisions we make today – Every Drop Counts.

Water from the mighty Colorado River supplies the 336 mile Central Arizona Project canal system carrying water to Phoenix and Tucson. It supplies our daily water needs, it delivers water to irrigate our farms and drives our economy. But Arizona isn’t the only state depending on the water from the Colorado River. Seven western states depend on the water it brings to the west and all seven, along with Mexico, have a voice in deciding how water will be used. Every drop of the Colorado is spoken for and it struggles to reach its delta in the Gulf of California causing devastating effects on wildlife and the people in the area who depend on it.

Historically those who manage Arizona’s water have been asked to find additional sources of water. That task is becoming increasingly more difficult and very expensive. According to Patrick Graham of The Nature Conservancy in Arizona, “If we become increasing reliant on groundwater it is a slow road to hell and there is no way back from that.”

Arizona needs to focus on protecting the waterways wholly in Arizona. The Verde and Salt River systems combine to meet about 30% of the Metro Phoenix water needs. They don’t hold as much water as the Colorado but Arizona has complete control over how the water is used. The Nature Conservancy in Arizona (NCA) is bringing science to solve our water problems and is working with the state, communities and business to make the most of Arizona’s resources. NCA works closely with farmers in the Verde Valley and downstream communities to manage resources.