The Effects Of Economic Growth And Population Growth On Land Use, Water Consumption And Water Conservation Policy In Phoenix, Arizona

Open Access
Bambino, Nicholas Ian
Area of Honors:
Global and International Studies
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jonathan Eran Abel, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jonathan Eran Abel, Honors Advisor
  • Larry James Gorenflo, Faculty Reader
  • Phoenix
  • Arizona
  • Water
  • Economic Growth
  • Population Growth
  • Land Use
The desire for economic growth in Phoenix, Arizona has promoted the growth of the city’s population and the expansion of the city itself. Phoenix has grown from a small desert town into one of the largest cities in the United States. Phoenix’s economic development after World War II enabled it to retain its workforce and employers, while attracting new workers and companies. However, Phoenix is located in the desert of the Salt River Valley in Central Arizona. Phoenix has always had to face the challenge of water security. The emergence and intensification of climate change will force the city to struggle even more in the 21st century as the population increases and demand for fresh water grows, while supply remains scarce. 1) This thesis will argue that population growth and a political system that prioritizes economic growth have been, and will continue to be, the catalysts for Phoenix’s increasing water demand. Phoenix’s population has grown unchecked because of the desire for economic growth, and the lack of population control measures. 2) This thesis will also argue that Phoenix’s city officials have not adequately addressed the threats to water supply that are posed by population growth. 3) This thesis will argue that the city government ultimately bears responsibility for any impending water shortages that the city will face in the 21st century. 4) Finally, this thesis will use historical water consumption data to examine quantities of water that could have been conserved if water demand levels had been lower at earlier times in Phoenix’s history.