To Keep Building, Arizona Needs More Water

Jul 19, 2023
 by Seven Seas News Team

Alleviating Arizona’s problem of dwindling resources requires a comprehensive approach that could include water reuse, desalination, public-private partnerships, water conservation, and groundwater management.

Sustainable water management solutions can help the state become less water-stressed

Water scarcity is a growing problem worldwide, and Arizona is no exception. Water shortages have gotten so serious in the city of Phoenix that the state has limited construction of new homes because of a lack of groundwater.

Phoenix is home to 4.6 million people and is one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States. However, new homes require water to build, and the new homeowners will require access to water, increasing the demand on dwindling resources. A recent state analysis shows that Phoenix does not have sufficient water to sustain the current rate of growth over the next century, forecasting a shortfall of 6 billion cubic meters.

The state is not issuing new certificates of Assured Water Supply, meaning it will not guarantee a supply of water to enable construction. However, developers can look for alternative sources, such as buying water from farmers or indigenous tribes who have water rights, or from entities that have surplus water. But the reality is that water is in short supply due to overuse and prolonged drought, exacerbated by climate change, and everyone is affected.

A comprehensive drought mitigation and water management strategy is needed for Phoenix to continue to grow. There are several solutions that Arizona can employ.

Reusing Wastewater

New wastewater treatment technologies can produce high-quality effluent for irrigating crops and landscaping, or for industrial and other applications such as groundwater recharge. When treated appropriately, wastewater can even be recycled into potable water.

Methods of Desalination

Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis desalination: While fresh groundwater has dwindled, there are enormous underground basins containing brackish groundwater that remain largely untapped. Montgomery & Associates consulting firm estimated in 2015 that about 600 million acre-feet of brackish water is stored in underground aquifers in Arizona and it could be made available through desalination. This is 200 times greater than the volume supplied annually to Arizona by the Colorado River.

Seawater Reverse Osmosis desalination: A 2012 Bureau of Reclamation Basin Study suggests that “seawater desalination may be the most cost-effective and politically viable importation option available to Arizona,” with desalination projects in partnership with California and Mexico touted in the Drought Contingency Plan for the region.


While partnerships between nations to manage shared water resources could be encouraged, so could public-private partnerships. Water managers and municipalities can partner with Seven Seas’ team of water experts for Water-as-a-Service®. Our team offers expert advice, infrastructure, and access to innovative water treatment technologies without clients having to outlay huge amounts of capital. With these partnerships, clients pay only for the water they need.

Water Conservation

Arizona’s groundwater is not the only source being strained. The Colorado River, which supports economic activity in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and the region’s agricultural sector, is also under stress. Water conservation strategies must be implemented and existing supplies used efficiently and sustainably. Using water more efficiently and switching to alternative sources of water can augment the supply of water and relieve the strain on freshwater sources.

Arizona and partner states that depend on the Colorado River recently agreed to cut the volume of water extracted from the river by 13% over the next three years to conserve this vital source that supplies drinking water to 40 million people, including the residents of Phoenix.

Groundwater Management

Groundwater gets replenished naturally when it rains. However, with the ongoing drought, that groundwater is being extracted faster than it is being replenished. Recycled wastewater could recharge aquifers and maintain the integrity of aquatic ecosystems.

Contact Seven Seas to learn more about these water treatment technologies. We’re committed to helping all communities build resilience to water scarcity and drought.

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