Arizona State geophysicists release study on Tucson water conservation efforts

Megan Miller said the study is an important tool to help cities who may face water shortages.   File photo

Geophysicists from Arizona State University have released a study that shows Tucson water conservation and management efforts have led to less land subsiding as well as a decrease in the loss of aquifer storage volume.

The Arizona State study, along with research from the California Institute of Technology, examined the City of Tucson's and the Arizona Department of Water Resources’ conservation efforts that were implemented in 1980. According to ASU researches, by 2015, the efforts had showed a significant increase in Tucson’s water storage.

“We chose the Tucson area because the groundwater management and conservation challenges there offer lessons for many other cities in the Southwest with similar predicaments,” ASU geophysicists Megan Miller said in a press release.

The study involved using satellite radar data from 2004 through 2015 to track land subsidence and examine any rise or fall over the time period.

Miller said the study is an important tool to help cities who may face water shortages.

“Knowing how the aquifer system responds can help public policy makers decide what to do in the case of water shortage,” Miller said in a statement. “In particular, knowledge of an aquifer’s elastic properties would allow authorities to determine how much fresh water can be extracted without causing permanent damage to the aquifer system.”

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Arizona State University City of Tucson

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