PastFinder Gathering – Water in Arizona: Past, Present, Future
May 28 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
A billboard near Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River proclaimed in the 1960s: “Arizona Grows Where Water Flows.” But growth and the control of water to support it have never been simple uncontested endeavors. There are haves and have nots, a few areas of abundance and vast areas of scarcity, conflicts between farmers, cities, and industry over who gets how much and who pays how much. The U.S. Southwest faces very serious water supply sustainability challenges in the coming decades as the region continues to grow and the climate shifts warmer and drier. For the 4 million or so people in Arizona who depend on river water, who gets cut when there is a shortage? Who has priority? Who makes these decisions? For the rest who depend on groundwater, how do we assure groundwater pumping is sustainable? What happens when one person’s pumping affects a neighbor’s water supply or when groundwater pumping affects surface water flows? ASU Professor of History and Sustainability Paul Hirt takes us on a bird’s eye view of the legal, social, and economic implications of water rights, water use, and water management in Arizona over the past century.