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Arizona Farmers Must Use Less Water To Survive. Here Are 5 Things To Do Differently

Opinion: It's time for Arizona farmers and ranchers to make bold changes, if they want to survive the 'new normal' of water scarcity.

A profound reduction in the Colorado River water earmarked for Arizona’s crops has at last triggered the rationing that irrigation farmers have dreaded. The Tier 1 shortage will prompt a 512,000-acre-foot reduction in Arizona’s Colorado River deliveries.

That amounts to about 30% of Central Arizona Project’s normal supply. Extrapolating from University of Arizona studies, it will result in a decrease of about $100 million in farmgate sales, and much more if the indirect effects are fully factored in.

If your own access to water – or your annual income – was cut by nearly a third, I’d guess you would call that a crisis. In Pinal County alone, this will immediately trigger the loss of 500 jobs.

That is only the start of the agricultural disruptions brought on by climatic changes.