Water Exchanges: Arizona's Most Recent Innovation in Water Law and Policy
22 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2018
Date Written: June 5, 2018
The words “Arizona” and “progressive” are seldom used in the same sentence but, when it comes to water, Arizona has a distinguished record of innovation in water law and policy. This article explores novel solutions to water shortages recently developed by Arizona water lawyers and managers. It draws on presentations at an Arizona Water Law conference hosted by the Arizona College of Law Rogers College of Law in December 2017. The recurring tool is water exchanges, that is, the substitution of one type of water for another, such as Colorado River water delivered through the Central Arizona Project for groundwater. Exchanges have become a reliable and valuable tool to solve seemingly intractable engineering challenges.
Lest I be perceived as simply a shill for my adopted State, I’ll also critique some foibles and missteps in water management. Arizona water managers are chasing a rainbow in pursuing “augmentation” in the form of desalination from ocean water off the coast of California or Mexico.
Keywords: water exchanges, desalination, water shortages, augmentation, ocean water, Colorado River Water, Central Arizona Project, groundwater
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