Lake Mead levels are hovering above 1.075 feet, the level at which a shortage is declared and cutbacks begin, but Arizona still faces an uncertain water future in the face of long-term drought and systemic overuse. Fortunately, Arizona has a long and proud history of making the most of our water supplies – and with good reason. If Lake Mead drops below 1,075 feet, Arizona is first in line for reductions in Colorado River Water allocations.
Building a future in which water supplies are both secure and sufficient to meet human and environmental needs is a task of historic proportions, but Arizona's WRAN team is up to the challenge. Read on to learn more about how Arizona WRAN members are preparing for the work ahead.
Engaging in the Planning Process:
Building upon our state’s tradition of careful, long-term water planning, the Arizona Department of Water Resources is holding public meetings around the state to develop plans for each of the 22 planning areas outlined in their Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability. The goals of these meetings are to identify supply/demand imbalances, to develop management strategies, and to give stakeholders a chance to add their voice to the conversation. Unfortunately, many stakeholders – rivers, habitat, birds and other wildlife – don’t have the option to attend.
That is why Arizona’s WRAN team is working hard to add natural resources important to the Network to the ADWR’s planning map. Not only will this bring water for natural areas into the discussion, but it will also provide our members with strong foundational information to bring to these meetings. To learn more about how you can add areas important to you to the map or to receive more information about attending these planning meetings, please contact the AZ WRAN team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collaborating to Find Solutions:
"When water resources are sustainable, we all thrive." Marshall Johnson, Audubon Dakota
We’ve been saying it for a long time – we’re all in this together – and we’re thrilled to see that we’re not the only ones who feel that way. This month at Arizona State University, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability brought state and federal government agencies, environmental non-profits, and local businesses together to engage in a forum on water, climate variability, and land use. Represented on the stage were the U.S. and Arizona Departments of Agriculture, Audubon, and the Kellogg Company.
It’s no surprise that this diverse group provided the audience of students, researchers, the public, WRAN leaders and more with a robust and productive discussion. Among the topics discussed was the importance of funding for creative conservation programs like System Conservation Projects, WaterSmart, the Lower Colorado Multi-Species Conservation Program (MSCP) and others. The trend towards supporting these creative solutions has already been seen with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and the Interior announcing in June more than $47 million in investments to these and similar programs that will improve water and energy efficiency across 13 western states.
“…all across the West, when people are confronted with the fact that there’s not enough water, they’ve been really successful at using less. So rather than the catastrophe I’d been led to expect, what I found instead was people working hard to figure out how to adapt.” – John Fleck
It is the AZ WRAN team’s job to give our members the information and training they need to speak up for western rivers at meetings and forums like those mentioned above. If you attended one of the sessions during our summer webinar series, Talking Water, you know that we’ve been hard at work doing just that.
Throughout the summer season, WRAN members logged in nearly 150 times to attend these sessions. We heard from a diverse cohort of experts from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Nature Conservancy, National Audubon, Trout Unlimited, AMP insights, the Kyl Center for Water Policy, ASU’s Morrison Institute on a wide array of topics including drought, water management, funding, and wildlife resources. We’re extremely grateful to our presenters and to our members for making this effort a success and we’re confident that those who attended are now even stronger advocates for flow across the Colorado River Basin. (If you missed these sessions, don’t worry! You can access the recorded sessions here.)
Despite uncertainties surrounding climate and water, the Western Rivers Action Network is stronger than ever. Together we will help inform the creative, flexible, and responsive policies that will create a stable and vibrant future for Arizona. Be sure to keep up with our website and Facebook page for opportunities to develop your skills, gain new information, and take action for western rivers.