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AZ ranks No. 3 for water efficiency as Colorado River dwindles

By: - January 20, 2023 4:51 pm
Colorado River

The Colorado River as it flows around Horseshoe Bend on June 23, 2021 in Page, Arizona. Photo by Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Arizona is ranked No. 3 among the states for water efficiency and sustainability, but still has a lot of room for improvement, according to a new analysis released this week. 

The Alliance for Water Efficiency ranks conservation, sustainability and affordability, and assigns each U.S. state a national and regional ranking.

Arizona ranked No. 3 overall for water efficiency and sustainability, scoring 50 out of 89 possible points. California had the highest score, with 72.5 points, followed by Texas, which earned 54.5 points.


While Arizona scored well for being located in the Southwest, the Alliance for Water Efficiency said the state could improve water efficiency by requiring plumbing fixtures meet WaterSense efficiency specifications, enacting water rate structures that encourage conservation and requiring coordination between land use and water planning. 

With the state in the first stages of a water crisis caused by a decades-long drought and subsequent cuts in Colorado River water usage, Arizona legislators last year authorized more than $1 billion to preserve Arizona water supplies. 

Then-Gov. Doug Ducey said at the time that Arizona “will now be able to acquire, own and store new water, and we will invest heavily in conservation, efficiency, reuse and advanced water technologies like desalination.”

Arizona recently entered a tier 2A shortage due to the dwindling of the Colorado River, with a 21% reduction in Colorado River allocation going into effect at the start of this year. That amounts to about 9% of the state’s total water usage. 


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Isabela Gamez/UA Don Bolles fellow
Isabela Gamez/UA Don Bolles fellow

Isabela Gamez is a writer for the Arizona Mirror while serving as the University of Arizona School of Journalism’s Don Bolles Fellow. She is a current junior at the University of Arizona majoring in journalism with a Spanish minor. She previously interned at the Digital Futures Bilingual Broadcast Studio and Arizona Public Media. She is active in the reporting of social justice issues.