According to a report by the Arizona Department of Water Resources, water demand in the state is expected to outstrip supply by up to 1 million acre-feet annually by 2040. This presents a real challenge for Scottsdale and other municipalities in the Southwest that rely on Colorado River water and local groundwater supplies.
To meet this challenge, the city of Scottsdale has adopted a comprehensive approach to water management that includes both supply-side solutions, such as diversifying its water portfolio and investing in infrastructure, and demand-side solutions, such as conservation and recycling.
One of the most important components of the city’s approach is its Drought Management Plan, which outlines a series of measures to be implemented in the event of water shortages. The plan includes four drought stages, each with increasingly stringent water conservation measures, designed to reduce water use and protect the community’s water supply.
In addition to its Drought Management Plan, Scottsdale has invested in a variety of supply-side solutions to ensure a diverse and resilient water supply portfolio. These include the construction of four Aquifer Storage and Recovery Wells, which will allow the city to store surplus surface water underground during times of low demand and withdraw it during times of high demand or emergencies.
Scottsdale has also been a leader in water recycling for decades. The Advanced Water Treatment Plant at the Scottsdale Water Campus uses highly purified, recycled water to recharge the underground aquifer, providing a valuable source of water during times of shortage.
On the demand side, Scottsdale has implemented a number of water conservation measures to reduce water use and minimize waste. These include a robust water conservation program that offers rebates, water efficiency workshops, and free outdoor water efficiency checks. The city also uses water-saving techniques in its parks and recreational areas and encourages the conversion of grass areas to desert-friendly landscapes.
While Scottsdale’s approach to water management has been successful in the short term, the city will need to continue to adapt and innovate to meet the challenges of a hotter, drier future. This will require a sustained commitment to water conservation and an ongoing investment in new technologies and infrastructure.
As communities across the Southwest grapple with the effects of climate change and water scarcity, the example set by Scottsdale serves as a valuable lesson in the importance of long-term planning, proactive management, and a commitment to sustainability. By working together to address these challenges, we can ensure a reliable and resilient water supply for future generations.