Wet Water and Paper Water in the Upper Gila River Watershed
As one of Arizona’s principal surface water systems, the Gila River has and will continue to be a valuable and highly sought after water source. The river, its tributaries, and underlying groundwater reserves have enabled a robust farming, ranching, and mining heritage, while providing a rich and diverse riparian landscape in an arid region. However, as much as these water resources have shaped the history of the watershed, a variety of legal, economic, and climatic uncertainties will undoubtedly – and potentially drastically – influence future water supplies. An understanding of the area’s water limits and a broad-based effort to more efficiently manage water usage are critically needed to cope with these uncertainties and maintain a secure water supply to support community health and preserve the rural lifestyle so central to the region. This document summarizes the legal system for water in the Upper Gila Watershed and a conceptual water budget analysis to quantify the region’s available supply, relative to current and projected future demand.
- water resources
- watershed management
- water policy