Water productivity is in the eye of the beholder: benchmarking the multiple values produced by water use in the Phoenix metropolitan area

Benjamin L. Ruddell, Richard Rushforth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Water productivity (or efficiency) data inform water policy, zoning, and planning, along with water allocation decisions under water scarcity pressure. This paper demonstrates that different water productivity metrics lead to different conclusions about who is using water more effectively. In addition to supporting the population’s drinking and sanitation needs, water generates many other public and private social, environmental, and economic values. For the group of municipalities comprising the Phoenix metropolitan area, we compare several water productivity metrics by calculating the water value intensity (WVI) of potable water delivered by the municipality to its residential and non-residential customers. Core cities with more industrial water uses are less productive by the conventional efficiency measure of water used per capita, but core cities generate more tax revenues, business revenues, and payroll per unit of water delivered, achieving a higher water productivity by these measures. We argue that policymakers should consider a more diverse set of socio-economic water productivity measures to ensure that a broader set of values are represented in water allocation policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1089-1106
Number of pages18
JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Water productivity is in the eye of the beholder: benchmarking the multiple values produced by water use in the Phoenix metropolitan area'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this