Arizona has seen its population increase and its water use decrease over the past several decades — how was this accomplished? Is there more room for this trend to continue?
Contrary to common knowledge, Arizona has in fact been growing its population and economy for years and years, while total statewide water use has been declining. Water use in Arizona was increasing until 1980 when the pivotal Groundwater Management Act (GMA) was passed. The GMA created the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and provided a complex framework of laws, rules, management plans, and policies that has ensured smart water management practices are undertook by all sectors. Another component of the declining water use in Arizona is that agricultural lands are converting to municipal uses. Cities and towns use less water than agriculture on an acre-per-acre basis. Today, the curve is flattening, the overall lowering of total statewide water use is still occurring, just