Can Phoenix Grow Without More Water?
Editor’s Note: This article is a sidebar to Water Shortage ‘Appears to be Inevitable’, in which In&Out Publications explains the challenges facing North Phoenix and how the city’s proposed water rate hike would address the issues.
Some criticize the city for allowing significant residential development, given water uncertainties. Here’s how the city’s water chief looks at it:
“Phoenix uses the same amount of water that it did 20 years ago but serves 400,000 more people,” said Kathryn Sorensen, director of Phoenix’s Water Services Department.
“For the most part, Phoenix has decoupled growth from water use,” Sorensen told In&Out Publications. “This is due to a culture of conservation among our customers, smaller lot sizes, high-efficiency appliances, and a transition to desert landscaping. We continue to see these gains in water efficiency, and therefore we anticipate we will be able to continue to grow yet use roughly the same amount of water overall.”
Regarding conservation, Sorensen said the city uses rising water rates to encourage conservation, “rather than telling customers or businesses what they can or can’t do in specific conditions.”