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Phoenix considers trading water to protect supply

PHOENIX — Council leaders in the nation’s sixth largest city will be briefed Tuesday on drought conditions in the region and plans to ensure a strong water supply in the future.

Phoenix gets the overwhelmingly majority of its water from snowpack, which travels to the desert via the Salt, Verde and Colorado rivers. Currently, Phoenix does not take all the water it is allotted from the Colorado River and water department staffers want council members to let them move forward with a plan to trade water with Tucson.

The plan calls for Phoenix to store its excess water in Tucson for that city to use as needed. In exchange, Phoenix would be entitled to some of Tucson’s water in the future.

“Phoenix’s tap water supply is in very good shape for decades to come,” said Water Department Spokesman Ken Kroski. “Extremely long-term temperature increases in our watersheds could result in reduced snowpack and even affect the cost of water.”

A city council report from Water Services Director Kathryn Sorensen said the following:

“No matter how well Phoenix has planned to avoid a water shortage, the regional economy may suffer if reliable water supplies are threatened. Looking decades into the future, the City’s analyses show that continued growth, with the possible effects of climate change on the region, will increase the chance of a shortage that would directly impact Phoenix.”

Kroski said Phoenicians use about the same amount of water they did 20 years ago, thanks to conservation efforts and more efficient appliances.

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