There is no other natural resource as important to us in Arizona as water! That’s why this essential and precious resource was recognized by Arizona’s governor in 2008 with an Executive Order that designates April as Water Awareness Month. Now in its eleventh year, April is the time that Arizonans are encouraged to focus their attention on ideas, tips, resources, and events that will inspire them to adopt a water-wise lifestyle.
Recent Colorado River shortage headlines in the news have certainly brought the serious topic of water issues in our state to light. A Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP, is the agreement recently signed by seven states (including Arizona) and Mexico to take less water than previously decided. Just last week, a bipartisan agreement on DCP legislation was reached and lawmakers plan to move the law forward for congressional approval. The plan and new law will “incentivize” states to leave water in Lake Mead and Lake Powell in times of shortage.
HUNDREDS OF WAYS IN THIRTY DAYS
That’s why now more than ever is a great time to invite all Arizonan’s to join in the celebration of Water Awareness Month (WAM). There are hundreds of ways in thirty days that residents and businesses can learn not only about where their water comes from but also the steps they can take to become more water efficient. Thankfully, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) has launched their Water Awareness Month website that is “overflowing” with ideas and activities to help you learn more about water conservation and to become more water aware. Visit the site to see the many activities being held by partnering water agencies, including hands-on classes and events on topics such as low water use plants, how to find and fix leaks in your home, rainwater harvesting, Earth Day, Xeriscape demonstration gardens, and much, much more.
HELPING YOU BE WATER AWARE BEYOND THE FAUCET!
Fortunately, Arizona has been very successful in improving water efficiency and conservation around the state. In fact, Arizonans are using less water now than we did in the late 1950s, despite a significant population increase. Yes, the state has done a great job, but it’s important when planning for the future to always look for more ways to help keep Arizona hydrated. While conservation indisputably is a big part of “water awareness,” that’s not all …
… it means being aware of the nature of water in our arid environment.
… it means considering the source of water beyond the kitchen faucet.
… it means understanding the often-complex nature of water in a water-precious environment. For instance, taking the time to understand where the water comes from that allows our communities to thrive.
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT AZ H2O
- In 1980, the state legislature approved the Arizona Groundwater Management Act, which placed strict regulatory limitations on groundwater pumping in Arizona’s most populous regions.
- In Arizona, 41 percent of our water is groundwater; 18 percent is from surface-water sources like the Verde and Salt River systems; three percent is reclaimed water; and, 38 percent of it is delivered from the Colorado River system.
- The Colorado River water, delivered by the Central Arizona Project (CAP), begins its existence as snowpack on the Western slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
- Arizona has had a drought declaration in place since 1998.
- In Arizona’s large population areas, water providers, golf courses, and other properties with large areas of turf must meet groundwater use regulatory requirements set by ADWR.
- Arizonans can use an interactive Community Water Systems map to see where their water comes from.
- In Arizona’s rural regions, where groundwater remains the primary source of water, those resources are particularly stressed as a result of lengthy drought and overuse.
BE A PART OF THE CELEBRATION AND THE SOLUTION
Join us in the celebration of water all month long and make a commitment to be water-wise all year round. Here’s how you can get involved:
- Get Smart – Take A Class. More than 50 free water-related classes and events are advertised on the WAM events page. Also, check out the classes for April and beyond that are hosted by our 20 water partners.
- Find & Fix Sneaky Leaks. Check out the Smart Home Water Guide to help you find leaks that are draining your budget and to get tips on how to improve your home’s water efficiency.
- Join Others Who are Saving Water. Participate in the Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. Take the pledge during the month of April and enter to win great prizes, including $3,000 for your home utilities.
- Get Outside. Up to 70 percent of household water use is outdoors, so watering your landscape efficiently is one of the easiest ways to save water. Learn how to water properly on our landscape watering page and find our easy guide to programming your controller. We also have low-water landscape videos.
- Get $ to Save Water. Check the Arizona WAM page to see if your water provider offer rebates for water-saving products, appliances, fixtures, and landscapes. Look for the Rebates section at the bottom of the homepage.
- Celebrate AZ Water. See Water – Use It Wisely’s Celebrate AZ Water series where we have featured numerous amazing stories about water in Arizona, including Alamo Lake, Boulder Creek, and the Hassayampa River Preserve.
- Spread the Word. “Like” Water- Use It Wisely on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram where we’ll make it easy for you to share water-saving resources, tips, and events with your social network! Share all you know about April and Water Awareness Month with all of your friends and family.
Our fun Water – Use It Wisely mascot, Wayne Drop, is sending out daily messages for Water Awareness Month on our Instagram Channel.
Parts of this article are being reprinted with permission from the blog, “Are You Water Aware?” published on March 30, 2018, by the Arizona Department of Water Resources, one of 20 Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs.