By Corinne Murdock |
On Tuesday, the city of Scottsdale asked residents to reduce water usage by five percent after the Bureau of Reclamation declared Arizona would have its Colorado River water claims reduced because of the river’s historic reclassification within Tier One drought status. As a result, Arizona had its 2.8 million acre-feet per year (AFY) claim on the river reduced by 512,000 AFY.
The city’s request may not be a suggestion for long: the announcement fell under Stage One of their Drought Management Plan (DMP), in which residents may voluntarily cut back on water usage. If city officials feel it necessary, then residents will be ushered into a California-esque Stage Two: mandatory water usage restrictions and water shortage surcharges.
Scottsdale Water Executive Director Brian Biesemeyer classified the city’s response as run-of-the-mill. Biesemeyer said Scottsdale residents needed to learn to live with less.
“Water conservation programs have been in place in Scottsdale for decades and many Scottsdale residents and businesses know their value,” said Biesemeyer. “Now we need to step up our game and take water conservation to the next level. With less water coming to us from the Colorado River in 2022, we need to learn to live with less and that starts every time we turn on the tap, flush the toilet or start our irrigation systems.”
Those who will feel the most immediate impact of the claim reduction will be farmers. Pinal County agriculture relies on the river water transported by the Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal.
The Bureau of Reclamation elevated the Colorado River to Tier One drought status last August.
The city suggested residents adjust their irrigation timers, sign up for a water management portal called WaterSmart, remove grass from their properties, budget their water, and consult a free irrigation specialist to check outdoor water efficiency.