Arizonans, along with others in the Southwest, are confronting the challenges of an ongoing drought that began in the mid 1990s. Arizona's investments in importing and storing water supplies for the major metropolitan areas have significantly buffered these areas from drought impacts. In addition, these areas have had water conservation requirements as a result of the 1980 Groundwater Code. In some parts of rural Arizona, however, drought conditions have had devastating personal and economic impacts over the past decade or more. The most urgent need for drought preparedness is in the rural regions of the state, where alternative water supplies are generally very limited and the economy is strongly affected by drought (particularly farming and ranching, recreation, tourism and forestry-related sectors).
ADWR's Drought Program takes a statewide approach to drought preparedness and response through the programs and activities described below.
Planning and Reporting for Water Providers
State statutes established in 2005 require drinking water providers to develop water supply, conservation and drought plans. The requirements also expand annual water use reporting to the entire state.
The State Drought Monitoring Technical Committee gathers and evaluates drought, climate and weather data and distributes that information to land managers, policy-makers and the public. An important goal of the committee is to provide early warning of changes in drought severity. Arizona's drought status is updated weekly, monthy and quarterly.