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Debate Continues Over Sustainability of Phoenix, Arizona

Debate Continues Over Sustainability of Phoenix, Arizona

In a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, William deBuys, author of A Great Aridness, predicted a bleak climate future for Phoenix, Arizona. He explained that a heat island effect has been created by an overly concrete world and our dependence upon water from the Colorado River. But, in a short piece on KJZZ,

by James Gardner April 11, 2013 2 comments

In a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, William deBuys, author of A Great Aridness, predicted a bleak climate future for Phoenix, Arizona. He explained that a heat island effect has been created by an overly concrete world and our dependence upon water from the Colorado River. But, in a short piece on KJZZ, Grady Gammage claimed that Phoenix has done far more than many other western cities to adapt to climate change.

A Morrison Institute report highlights efforts in Phoenix are being made to become more sustainable in terms of water use, which has been the constant criticism of Phoenix. In one of my earlier articles, I mentioned efforts to plan for a more sustainable core along the light rail corridor.

Efforts are being made to adapt to climate change and drought, which can lead to uncertain water futures. These efforts include aquifer management practices and long-term planning. Grady Gammage argues that the measure of how sustainable a place is can be measured by its response to challenges, such as the ones seen here. Water and utility providers in Phoenix have undertaken large-scale projects in order to further the sustainability of their infrastructure. Salt River Project's (SRP) water management site exhibits the mitigation and adaptation techniques being undertaken by their engineers. Arizona Public Service (APS) also focuses on sustainability in order to stay competitive by planning long-term and investing in renewables.  Although these are just a few aspects of sustainability, they are central to the future provision of services to the Phoenix metro area.

Salt River Project's Water Systems

Weigh in – Do you think Phoenix’s future is sustainable? What is your city doing to adapt to climate change?

Credits: Map courtesy of Salt River Project. Data linked to sources.

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James is a graduate student in Urban and Environmental Planning at Arizona State University. Growing up in a small, sprawling town in Arizona, James became attracted to the field of planning and design by taking a critical look at his surroundings, a...

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