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The Whole Campaign in One Page

An Arizona 2-Year Drought Success Plan

To Save Hundreds of Billions of Gallons of Water 
And Recover Hundreds of Billions More

In Just Two Years

Lake Mead - Combined Graphs.png

The Problem

Lake Mead

895 elevation feet of water at Lake Mead is "Dead Pool" - Hoover Dam cannot pump water through the dam below this level and supply water to the Colorado River which supplies life, industry and agriculture in Arizona, California and Mexico

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Primary Water Consumers

Comparing Arizona and California Agriculture

Based on the latest data from the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Arizona consumes 7.1 million acre feet (2.3 trillion gallons) of water annually.


Of this, 74% is agricultural consumption, specifically 5.2 million acre feet (1.7 trillion gallons) is consumed by agriculture.

Though high - this is dwarfed by California which consumes 34 million acre feet (11+ trillion gallons) for agriculture.

Agriculture Drone
Plant & Irrigation System

Israel: Success Pioneer

Finding Abundance in Desert Scarcity

Israel had a drought worse than ours. 

Israel reversed its drought and turned it into a water surplus.

The two primary vehicles of Israeli success in the face of drought are related: 

1) Plug evaporative leaks

2) Plug the largest evaporative leak by converting all farms to drip irrigation

Every farm in Israel uses drip irrigation - by making this change Israel reduced it's agricultural water consumption by 40-50% while increasing crop yields and agricultural profitability.

680 Billion Gallons

The Low Cost
of Converting to Drip

Currently only 5% of Arizona farms use drip irrigation.

This is in contrast to California farms, of whom 48% are now on drip.

By converting the roughly 140,000 acres of Arizona farms that do not use drip, to drip, Arizona stands to save more than 680 billion gallons of water consumption per year - 52% more than the amount consumed each year by all non-agricultural sources combined (445 billion gallons). 

CAWCD has identified some methods by which farms can be converted for as little as $350/acre - the most expensive options are $2500/acre.

CAWCD can fund vouchers for all Arizona farms to convert to drip irrigation - no coercion or state mandates are necessary because farms converting to drip will profit more through higher yields and lower water costs. 

We can fund this through either a temporary one-time surcharge of $25 on the water bills (low-end, raising $52 million)  of water users in the tri-county area served by CAP (Maricopa-Pinal-Pima) or a 24-month, $7 surcharge (high-end, raising $372 million). 

At under $400 million - drip irrigation is the least expensive approach available to the state while providing the maximum available benefit among all other options


Compare the Alternatives

Arizonans are being expected by media and our leaders to entertain two fascinating proposals which both carry with them the promise that we can continue to be as wasteful with a scarce resource as we already are.


How do these proposals stack up?

Desalinization in the Sea of Cortez

Find more information here.

Cost: $2.5 - $3 billion per plant ($5-6 billion)

Time to Implement: 14 years (compare to San Diego's plant)

Yield: 200 million gallons of water per day

Side-effects: cartel exposure

A New Canal (i.e.: from the Mississippi River or Rio Grande)

Find more information here.

Cost: $8-$10 billion

Time to Implement: ~10 years* (pending all litigation)

          Material, if we can build it
          Zero, while we wait

Side-effects: invasive species in the Colorado River (that any state sharing the river may object to - and therefore veto - usually for valid reasons)

Drip Irrigation for Arizona Farms

Find more information here.

Cost: at most, $400 million

Time to Implement: 2 years - done by 2025

Yield: 680 billion gallons per year ; 1.8 billion gallons per day

Side-effects: Increased profits and yields for Arizona agriculture - Arizona takes a stronger position when it renegotiates the Colorado River Compact in 2026 by leading on water savings


*Frankly we're just being generous here - realistic estimates are more like 30 years:

Southwest Leadership:
How Arizona Prevails
When the Colorado River Compact
is Renegotiated in 2026

What if Arizona does drip irrigation first?

California has a lead, with 48% of its farms on drip. 

What if we surpass California and convert all of our farms to drip?

What if California then follows our lead?

Remember: all the Desert Southwest states drink from the same spigot - we cannot solve the Lake Mead or Colorado River by ourselves.

If Arizona sets an example that California follows, and California converts its 5 million acres of farmland not yet on drip, to drip, California could save the desert southwest :

3.3 trillion gallons of water, every year

Arizona and California's combined savings would together add to well in excess of 4 trillion gallons per year.

There are many more evaporative leaks to plug

With drip irrigation we will only be getting started


But drip irrigation is
The fastest, most powerful and least expensive method
of collectively reversing an existentially threating drought

Western Landscape

But wait!
There's more

Beyond saving 680 billion gallons
per year
with Drip Irrigation
Arizona can recover another 200 billion gallons a year 
(more than 500 million gallons a day!)

With Evaporative Prevention 

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