Our Water, Our Future: Arizona’s Water Plan

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One of the most common concerns expressed by homebuyers that are interested in moving to Arizona from out of state is the availability of water. For some homebuyers, like those moving from California, the concerns are frequently grounded in their experiences with water usage restrictions due to the recent drought. For those that have been unaffected by drought, the concerns tend to be of an environmental nature or based on the general perception of Arizona as a naturally hot and dry place. The fact of the matter is that Arizona is a warm climate that experiences very few rainy days. It’s also a state that is very conscious of its water use. This is why, in 1973, Arizona passed a Statewide Water Adequacy statute that required disclosure of water availability in real estate transactions.

Carrying that mission further, the Arizona Department of Water Resources established the Groundwater Code and Assured Water Supply Program in 1980. In practical terms, the Assured Water Supply Program requires that developers demonstrate the availability of water for the next 100 years in 5 Active Management Areas, including the Prescott area. In fact, in order to gain the approval of a subdivision by cities, towns, and counties or to obtain authorization to sell lots, developers have to show that they are in compliance with this program. In order to adequately demonstrate that water availability, the Arizona Department of Water Resources requires that developers meet 5 criteria.

  1. Physical availability for 100 years – This is typically addressed through a hydrologic study and must take into account current demand and water use that has been committed to but is not yet being used, such as land that is currently under development.
  2. Continuous availability for 100 years – This means that there must be sufficient backup supply or artificial storage to provide continuously available water. There must also be a recovery plan that allows the backup supply to recover and a Drought Response Plan.
  3. Legal availability for 100 years – Developers work with municipalities and water providers to acquire the legal right to water that will be used by their future homeowners.
  4. Water quality – The water being provided must meet Safe Drinking Water Act Requirements.
  5. Financial capability – A water provider must have adequate delivery, storage, and treatment works in place or already financed.

 At Dorn Homes, we work with developers and landowners that meet all 5 of those criteria for every neighborhood we build. The continuing commitment to water conservation efforts is vitally important to us, as it should be to everyone here in Arizona.

 

If you’re interested in taking steps to conserve water around the house, here are a few simple tips:

  • Turn off the water when shaving or brushing your teeth.
  • Consider a hot water circulation system, like those used by Dorn Homes, to avoid wasting water while you wait for a bath or shower to warm up.
  • Think about using native drought-tolerant plants or hardscaping when landscaping your front and back yard. You can find more information about that in our Outdoor Living post.
  • Use artificial turf instead of a natural grass lawn.
  • If you do install natural grass, put your sprinklers on a schedule that waters early in the morning to avoid excess evaporation. Alternatively, install moisture sensors and a smart sprinkler system to ensure that your sprinklers are watering only when needed.
  • Install low-flow toilets and showerheads.
  • For those of you considering making substantial changes to your water consumption habits, look into water collection options for your outdoor irrigation needs.

By working together with the state, the developers, and the community, we can all make smart water choices today that will ensure the availability of safe water for generations to come. For more information about how Arizona manages its water use visit http://www.azwater.gov.

For information about Dorn Homes, talk to one of our Online Home Advisors today.

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