Effective Solutions to Water Scarcity

Water is granted as easy as pushing a button, twisting a knob, and turning a handle. In homes, businesses, and recreations, the cleanest and purest water is accessible to millions. From the water you use to drink, or cook, or shower, and wash your hands, water is involved in everyday encounters. Given an abundant water supply provides convenience and sustainability. Proven by the years, the rural deserts can brochure growth through development of new homes, businesses and farmland for the benefit of the community. In return, the community lays their trust in certain people to provide water resources and services for comfort and assurance of viability. From here, the goal of this paper is to clear the water on the subject of Arizona’s depleting reservoirs by identifying current cycles that prevent permanent deficits in water inventory.

To achieve this goal, I introduce the topic of community concerns in historical context. The rest of the paper is organized in three body paragraphs which the first identifies two infrastructures of water evaluations, followed by two separate body paragraphs that include each of a solution of water sustainability. In paragraph one, I make clear of the water source that is used the most, and how its value can be taken for granted. The second paragraph details the flow-in and flow-out of waste and treated water, and its high-level impact over the other sources. Lastly, the third paragraph reasons the major importance of water by explaining the highest usage of the state. Additionally, I clearly format economic advantages of the state by mentioning the agricultural capital revenue and how it requires the most usage. Ending with the conclusion, I press my thoughts on the best solution out of all the water cycles and complicity.

Historical Context

Water scarcity is an important challenge in the community that needs attention because it is dependent on state-wide, for sustainability in rough times. Although, continuing to supply a luxury amount of water is depleting the main source of the state, as well as neighboring ones. Members of the community are uncomfortable with the fact that the cause of water supply is due to little rainfall and population growth within the state. Other local and state residents face the possibility that water supply in their homes can be contaminated and unsustainable in the next decades. It puts a hold on their supply and demand for an annual capital income. It also puts a jeopardy on the jobs that are in the water supply and cleaning industry. It also poses a challenge in the government’s hands to find new water sources because the only little water source that is available is not only depleting, but extends a worse possibility of being completely gone by contaminated run-off water. Water distributors would also have to face the disruption of water supply to neighboring states, but most importantly face an evolving state that continues to grow when the most essential resource is decreasing.

Simplistic Accessibility

Having access to water in a home is very important, but expected. Two sources include nearly sixty percent of water sources from the Colorado River and other in state rivers combined. In the early 20th century, state leaders established the Central Arizona Project (CAP) that involved a 336-mile system that transports Colorado River water to Central and Southern Arizona (“CAP Vision”). A majority of the water encountered in your household originates from state rivers. Prior to access and consumption for customers, CAP delivers raw water to water treatment facilities which undergo a filtration process. The steps of treating raw water follows as screening and presedimentation; coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation; filtration; and disinfection. Residents of the state are using 145 gallons per day; or four hundred sixty-two billion gallons a year of municipal use; and not everyone realizes the impact (“How Arizona Cities Are Promoting Water Conservation”).

Clearly, continuous growth of real estate can affect our sources in the long future, but everyone is accountable for proactive consumption. “We’re in a 19-year-drought [and] It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” says Gov. Doug Ducey in his 2019 state of states address (1). Noted, the Colorado River resources are shared through California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Mexico, by reservoirs, but Arizona still gets a right of 2.8 million acre feet of water (“Law of the River”). In spite of a significant drought, Flagstaff offers free checkups for water conservation consultation. Educating the community is very important, and Sustainability manager Amanda Acheson says, “From a renter to a homeowner, from big to small, budgets of all sizes. We can all be a part of the solution”. In fact, it is difficult to regulate our survival instincts for water; it is critical to have an effort in monitoring daily usage in homes. Sparing water at home can decrease water bills and be as easy as doing full load laundry instead of small loads; taking shorter showers instead of long showers; and checking for leaks in your appliances. On the downside, other conserving solutions can require costly appliances that save water, like dishwashers, washing machines, and shower heads, but are an investment towards a cheaper water bill. Ultimately, there is not a practical way of conserving millions of gallons of water in a household, but it can be done in Waste Water Recovery Facilities. Household waste water can go in several different places, and it all starts with water treatment stages.

Recycled Options

It takes advanced planning and resilience for getting the most out of a precious resource, and one simple plan can extend the use of human water consumption. The third important source, to equalize usage of the four main categories of sources, is recycled waste water. Recycled water makes up to three percent of water sources in Arizona, and is also known as reclaimed water. Reclaimed water can be used to irrigate: sports fields, golf courses, and to recharge groundwater aquifers. Although it seems that it doesn’t stand out to be a major credibility, treatment plants can outflow 250,000 gallons of reclaimed water a day. The director of Phoenix water Services says, “Phoenix has been a leader in the reuse of wastewater for 40 years [because of efforts in] … Metro Phoenix [that] reuses or recharges nearly 100% of all wastewater” (Water Sustainability 2). When wastewater leaves households and enters wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF), it is cured through a tertiary treatment that is similar to regular water treatment facilities. Treated wastewater can travel farther than in state beneficiaries, that can be seen as neighboring state externalities. For example, “Las Vegas releases much of its recycled water to Lake Mead, and some of that water, blended with Colorado River water, is eventually treated to drinking water standards and reused by cities downstream’ (Tenney 7). When analyzing the purification results of wastewater, it is evident that when utilizing water inside homes, schools, businesses, etc, the wastewater can even relocate back into the original sources like surface streams. In simpler terms, the water drunk inside homes may have come from WWTF without people noticing.

In conjunction with drinking water that was considered wastewater at one point, Advanced Reclaimed Water Treatment Facilities should be expected to be a wide producer of portable water in future developments. In January 2018, Arizona lifted regulations towards human consumption of recycled water. Following October 2019, Scottsdale became the first city in Arizona and the third in the nation that was permitted to treat recycled water for potable uses. Executive Director of Scottsdale Water, explains, “For now a main goal is to help drinkers get over the ‘ick’ factor” (Brodie 2) With many variables of concern like chemical contaminants, health guidelines by the state are involved. Nevertheless, Arizona is heading in a direction that supplies an equity of water sources like the forty-percent surface water provides. Furthermore, this cycle also includes recharging groundwater aquifers as another beneficial externality. Groundwater is important because rural areas of Arizona, some residents, and agriculture rely on it (Allhands 6). Without groundwater, Arizona is susceptible to becoming an unsustainable state.

Agricultural Impact

Groundwater is the last category of the four main water sources in Arizona which sustains around forty percent of the total water supply, and is the largest water supply in the state. Agricultural producers export to over seventy countries and depend on a large water supply. The industry generates roughly twenty-three billion dollars towards the state’s economy and provides over 160,000 jobs (“Water in the Desert”). So how does groundwater play a role in agricultural development, you might ask? Obviously, water is needed to “keep its place as the third largest producing state for fresh market vegetables”, but its source of water is overlooked as “Modern technology helps farmers and ranchers use what they need and no more. [while] Water not used in the fields returns to the rivers and storage” (Ducey 3). For over a thousand years, the desert landscape has utilized water sources through complex canals. As most farms may be out of reach from canals, pumping water from aquifers through wells ensures there can be suitable conditions when producing goods for local and global needs.

Although abundant water is in existence beneath the surface, precautions are required when pumping from above. When water is pumped more than deposited, unsafe effects follow as: sinking, cracking, and fissures to the infrastructure (Tenney 5). Avoiding these conditions is not always monitored by the state, but is progressively changing. Ducey says, “I am open minded to regulations that protect and steward our water future. I’m concerned about some of the reports that we have received, and we’re working to provide the best possible policy going forward, both from the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation, and some of the decisions that they make on behalf of the state water management future” in an effort to calm residents of a dwindling supply. (Groundwater Regulation 8).

Evidently from inheritance, the depository of aquifers outline a core role in water sustainability in Arizona for future generations. Unfortunately, the unsupervised stockpile is mainly replenished through little rainfall, lakes and rivers, with minimal chances due to desert climates. In an effort to sustain groundwater and agricultural benefits, recycling and replenishing first hand surface waters should be taken into account for an optimal cycle.


With a growing population of 7.2 million people in Arizona, it is scary to imagine how extreme rural countries are conserving their water or even have access to clean water. Considering events that could lead to severe diminished water, it is unlikely Arizona will experience such decimation. In preparation of major droughts, political leaders throughout the years have been regulating the outflow of surface water since it is a primary source. Also, Groundwater deposits are evolving to be more reliable and regulated by the government. Most noticeably, technology is evolving the use of reclaimed water. Overall, the state is doing well in the water department as it adjusts to industrial, agricultural, and municipal growth. Each water source poses a solution for sustainability of water sources, but recycling water is the best solution that ensures longevity. When facing water scarcity, it is imperative for the community to accept evolving conditions by adapting to the resources around it. In acceptance in continuity, a community will always thrive more than a community that doesn’t flow with revision. Continuing through technological and industrial advancements, Arizona, will surpass other states’ water sustainability by their strategic water cycle improvements and implements.