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Reliable water supplies in Arizona depend on basin-wide conservation

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A statewide Arizona poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies on October 3-7 revealed that ensuring a reliable supply of water is now a top priority for Arizona voters, positioning fifth on a list of important issues, just below jobs and above state spending, taxes and crime. 74 percent of respondents said reliable water supplies are a “serious” or “very serious” concern.

Respondents also “strongly supported” incentives to promote water conservation and efficiency at the level of 71 percent for residential use and 64 percent for agriculture.

These results were encouraging, as they demonstrated to Arizona policymakers voter willingness to discuss water issues and solutions that benefit future generations – topics that have previously been politically unviable in Arizona and other Western states.

Even more importantly, the results showed specific support for water conservation – identified as a fast and cost-effective solution in the Bureau of Reclamation's Colorado River Basin Water Supply & Demand Study.

Water conservation programs have successfully been implemented all across the Colorado River Basin, but there is certainly room for more. Since Arizona will be among the first to feel the effects of shortages, it's prudent that Arizona residents support more water conservation. But conservation in Arizona, alone, is not enough.

All Colorado River water users – in Arizona as well as the six other U.S. river basin states and two states in Mexico – depend on a healthy river system for reliable water supplies. The sooner all of these water users can increase the amount of water they conserve, the less vulnerable they will be to water shortages, both today and for future generations.

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