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Water report suggests diversification for Arizona agriculture

Arizona Public Media / Tony Perkins

It’s in response to mandatory Colorado River cutbacks triggered by drought.

Snow in Colorado’s Elk Mountains in May 2022. Alex Hager/KUNC

The first major report forecasting Arizona’s mandatory Colorado River water cutbacks and their impact on agriculture is out. The University of Arizona’s Southwest Center sought opinions from farmers, ranchers and water policy experts to develop solutions to water scarcity issues.

UA conservation biologist Gary Nabhan says it’s a first step toward adjusting to the uncertainty caused by climate change.

“I’m hopeful there is good will between researchers, farmers, and the people who want to buy their products so that we can avoid disaster and come out with a more viable and resilient agriculture for the state,” he said.

The report notes Arizona farmers will need help reducing the costs of water and energy that go toward growing crops. They will also need assistance in marketing their harvests to generate more income in the changing environment.

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