New ASU mapping tool shows holistic view of water in Arizona

ASU mapping tool shows holistic view of water in Arizona

Kyl Center’s interactive tool includes desalination projects, habitats, dams, agriculture

Does your neighborhood have a guaranteed water supply?Is ocean desalination the future of drinking water?Do you know what percentage of Arizona’s water comes from the Colorado River?

Water is a critical issue in Arizona, and a new water-mapping tool created by the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University has collected a vast array of maps and data sets to show a wide-ranging view of water in the state.

The Arizona Water Blueprint visualizes information on groundwater, rivers, agricultural irrigation, dams, ocean desalination, critical species and other concepts that are important not only to policymakers but also to any Arizonan concerned about water.

The first-of-its-kind map creates a holistic view of water in Arizona that was missing, according to Sarah Porter, director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy.

“We’re in a lot of meetings about water planning and water resources at various levels, and we often see how this blueprint will make the conversation much more informed,” she said.

Porter and Susan Craig, water policy analyst for the Kyl Center and the project manager, got the idea for the tool after talking to local officials who often need to think regionally about water. One even carried a hand-drawn map around as a visual aid.

So Porter and Craig met with dozens of water, conservation and development experts as well as agency heads to ask what they needed. Then they held 16 design workshops around the state that engaged hundreds of participants.

“In every meeting, we got feedback that made us realize new values and uses that we hadn’t anticipated before,” Porter said.

“It’s important to us that this was really a crowdsourced process.”

The Arizona Water Blueprint got startup funding from SRP, along with help on cartography and videos, and much of the work to put everything together was done by ASU students.