VALLEY THIRST

Arizona’s water system avoiding California-level drought

Mar 20, 2014, 12:46 AM | Updated: 12:46 am

PHOENIX — Both Arizona and California are in droughts, but one state’s water management system is better adapted to dry conditions.

“We are in a drought in Arizona,” Dr. Michael Lacey, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos on Wednesday. “It is not as dire as it is in California.”

The difference is that Arizona’s system is much more resilient and has very productive aquifers.

“We store water when its available in excess of our needs and then we slowly deliver that water and try to reserve as much of it as we can for future use,” said Lacey.

However, a successful management system does not mean Arizona is immune from droughts. Some estimates say the Colorado River System, including lakes Powell and Mead, could see shortages as soon at 2016. Lacey said the state, which has the lowest water priority of the system, is prepared.

“That shortage will not be dire for the state because of a lot of planning efforts and a lot of work we’ve done already,” he said.

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Arizona’s water system avoiding California-level drought