WATER CONSERVATION IN THE TUCSON WATER BASIN
The City of Tucson is currently using far more water than it is replacing. Options and plans to solve this problem in the future are severely limited because of the fact that Tucson, Arizona is desert land. With the population continually growing, and each populant continually using more water, something needs to be done. The only answer that can be immediately put into action is water conservation. This solution can be practiced by individuals, corporations associations, and many other people – people need to realize that they need to help now.
Through research, this paper reveals the specific reasons that people need to conserve water now, gives some insight to help the reader understand why the water will run out, and tells the reader how they can help now.
Water is the source of all life, especially in a desert community such as Tucson, Arizona – where the state’s average rainfall is less than 10 inches a year (2c). Water is the reason that humans were able to settle in the Southwest, and without it, the great city of Tucson would be non-existant. Humans also have to realize that this supply of water is valuable and limited, and unable to support this region indefinitely. Since we, the local residents of Tucson, are currently using far more groundwater than we are replacing (8), consideration and planning need to be addressed in the form of conserving this precious supplier of life, water.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
In searching for materials relevant to my topic, I was faced with several options.
First, Dr. James Riley gave me a couple of very useful phone numbers: one, to contact the Pima Association of Governments – (520) 792-1093 – and the other, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality – 1-800-234-5677. Each was quite helpful and offered to send me information through the mail, but my time span would not allow this. So then, I turned to the University of Arizona’s Sabio Library Reference search, available online at http://dizzy.library.arizona.
edu/, and found numerous sources available by using the keywords Tucson, Arizona water conservation. Many of these were books that I felt were out-dated and inadequate to my needs, so I turned to some other search engines on the internet, using the same key words. I found several helpful sites, but the most helpful was the homepage for Water Resources in the Tucson Basin, available at http://ag.arizona.edu/swes/tucwater1/ — I scrolled down to the area labeled internet links to find up-to-date sites with the most information available on water conservation in the Tucson area.
In order to conceive the concept that our water supply will not last forever, one must realize where the water is coming from.
As Water words, a quarterly newsletter produced by SAWARA, explained it:
Nearly all water used in this area comes from an underground aquifer formed over thousands of years of geologic time. The aquifer is made up of varying layers of clays, sands and gravels that have been deposited in Avra Valley and the basin which underlies the greater metropolitan Tucson and Green Valley area. Substantial volumes of water, accumulated from years of snowmelt and rainfall, are contained within the tiny spaces surrounding the grains of these sediments. (8)
This picture, shown on the Water Resources Research Center WebPages, at http://www.ag.arizona.
edu/azwater/ (2d) shows a nice diagram of the explanation from above.
By understanding how these aquifers formed over thousands of years, hopefully you are able to associate that they do not quickly replenish themselves. Therefore, at the rate humans are using the water from the wells dug into these aquifers, it will soon be gone. So we must realize that there are many actions that must be taken, the most important being conservation.
In research data presented by the Tucson Active Management Area, it shows that Tucson is currently using about 312,000 acre-feet (AF) per year (1a). The major sources that this water supply comes from includes groundwater, effluent water, and CAP water.
As show by the figure below (1b).
Water Supplies Used To Meet Demand – 1994
Source Acre-Feet Percent
Central Arizona Project 24,000 7.7
Effluent 11,000 3.5
Groundwater 279,000 88.8
(One acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons.)
As one can see, an .