Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Sanders said in a recent blog post that the health of Lake Mead impacts the area and its falling water level is a challenge to water management.
Lake Mead is the country's largest storage reservoir, and the Central Arizona Project (CAP) and the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) are working with the federal government, neighboring states and Mexico to discuss its falling water level, Sanders said. Due to an extended drought and increased water demand, Lake Mead's water level is dropping 12 feet per year on average, which could result in a water shortage.
Water is an important part of the state's economic health, Sanders said.
CAP delivery of Colorado River water from 1986 through 2010 generated more than $1 trillion of Arizona’s gross state product, according to a study commissioned by CAP and the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. CAP’s supply of water to cities, industries and agricultural users in 2010 alone created an estimated 1.6 million jobs which would have been lost without adequate water supply.
All Colorado River water users and managers must work together to avoid the pitfalls of other states while protecting the river and the communities relying on its water supply, Sanders said.
"I encourage business leaders to pursue increased awareness of water issues and support Arizona water utilities and policy makers as they face important decisions about our water future," Sanders said. "We can’t grow without water."