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Arizona uses slightly less water than it did in the 1950s, water policy analyst says

Drought has triggered water cutbacks for central Arizona farmers that could continue into the foreseeable future, but Arizona’s water future is not as bleak as it seems.

And although agriculture uses a lot of water compared to some other users, it also helps keep food costs down.

Farmers use far less water than they did decades ago, said Sarah Porter, a water policy analyst for the Morrison Institute.

She said during a talk for Arizona Humanities last week that the state has made improvements in water conservation across the board, which has allowed Arizona to grow without increasing water consumption.

“Now, in 2022, we are using slightly less water as an entire state, than we used in the mid-50s," Porter said. 

She said that although changes to agriculture are likely, it’s too soon to say exactly what they will be.

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Ron Dungan has lived in Arizona for more than 35 years. He has worked as a reporter, construction worker, copy editor, designer and freelance writer. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the undergraduate Writers’ Workshop, and has a master’s in history from Arizona State University.Dungan was an outdoors reporter and member of the storyteller team at the Arizona Republic, where he won several awards, and was a contributor on a border project that won the 2018 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting.When not working, Dungan enjoys books, gardening, hanging out with his German shorthaired pointer, backpacking and fly-fishing. He's a fan of the Arizona Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes.