As climate heats up, Arizona confident in water-conservation efforts

Some parts of southwest Arizona could experience more than 140 days of temperatures above 100 degrees within 20 years, according to a climate change model from the Environmental Protection Agency. The impact of rising temperatures would be most dramatic between Phoenix and Yuma, but areas all across Arizona could see greater vulnerability to drought, with extreme heat straining water resources. But water utilities and state agencies say they are confident that the state has been careful in its water use, and communities and water utilities have developed responses to changing climates for years. “Here in Arizona, we manage water very differently than other states,” said Michelle Moreno, spokeswoman at the Arizona Department of Water Resources. “There are mandatory conservation requirements for different types of users.” The EPA released the models as a tool that includes predictions, case studies and best practices to help local utilities plan for the effects of a changing climate. It plans to release additional case studies later this year that are specific to the Southwest. But the EPA noted that any plans should be developed using local knowledge on how climate conditions could affect water supply and demand — something Arizona officials who deal with water say they have a handle on.

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