Economic development in Arizona is largely influenced by access to adequate water supplies owing to the State's predominantly semiarid to arid climate. Water demand is met by pumping ground water from aquifers or by con-veying surface water through a system of reservoirs and canals. Water-withdrawal data provide important information on how water demand affects the State's water resources. Information on water withdrawals also can help planners and managers assess the effectiveness of water-management policies, regulations, and conservation activities.
This report includes water-withdrawal data for irrigation, municipal, mining, thermoelectric-power, and drainage uses for 1991-2000, and describes the methods used to collect, compile, and estimate the data. Data are reported for the Arizona Department of Water Resources ground-water basins outside of Active Management Areas.
Because of the climate, ground water and surface water are used to irrigate nearly all agricultural fields in Arizona. Irrigation accounted for the largest use of water in the study area during 1991-2000. The amount of water withdrawn for irrigation varies greatly from year to year for some of the basins, primarily because of differences in the consumptive water requirement for different crops and because of changes in irrigated acreage.
The population of Arizona increased about 35 percent from 1991 to 2000-from about 3.79 million in 1991 to about 5.13 million in 2000. Correspondingly, water withdrawal for municipal use increased steadily in most of the basins during 1991-2000.
Ground-water withdrawals for mining did not show any consistent trends during 1991-2000. Increases and decreases in withdrawals for mining were most likely due to variations in mineral production. Mineral prices and competition from mining in other States and foreign countries probably result in annual increases or decreases in mineral production in Arizona.
Between 1991 and 2000, ground-water withdrawals for thermoelectric-power generation generally increased owing to an increase in production of electricity. Ground-water withdrawals for drainage of agricultural lands in the Lower Gila and Yuma Basins varied irregularly from year to year. Annual total water withdrawals are not presented in this report because for some years irrigation values for some of the basins are reported as 'less than 1,000 acre-feet,' and municipal and mining values for some of the basins are reported as 'less than 300 acre-feet.'