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THE GROUNDWATER / SURFACE WATER DILEMMA – Conclusion

June 12, 2010

THE GROUNDWATER/SURFACE WATER DILEMMA IN ARIZONA: A LOOK BACK AND A LOOK AHEAD TOWARD CONJUNCTIVE MANAGEMENT REFORM  by Allison Evans

Conclusion

Arizona faces a future fraught with uncertainties, complexities, and possible solutions in the expansive and daunting realm of water rights and regulation. This article addresses some of the problems associated with Arizona’s failures in addressing the future maintenance of water supplies. To sustain a healthy economy and environment, the commitment to a bifurcated system that fails to distinguish between groundwater and surface water must end. An unavoidable and unfortunate
truth is “jurisdictions which fail to recognize the direct interrelationship between surface and groundwater resources are only postponing the inevitable requirement to regulate the two sources as an integrated system.” [FN136] While regional renewable water supplies are arguably sufficient for the time being, rural areas continue to suffer. Continued expansive growth in Arizona will eventually cost a multitude of economic and environmental hardships in the absence of legislative reforms and policy decisions aimed at long-term solutions. Arizona has undoubtedly enacted some innovative and comprehensive regulations and systems to address water rights issues, including the Groundwater Management Act, the Central Arizona Project, and the Arizona Water Banking Authority. None of these, however, can achieve its ultimate goal. Problems will continue unless Arizona takes action to complete a true unified system of conjunctive management focused on long-term storage and recharge projects affecting both groundwater and surface water.

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