20 Dec 2022
 | 20 Dec 2022

Water Productivity of Phoenix Metropolitan Area Cities

Benjamin Ruddell, Richard Rushforth, and Diane Hope

Abstract. Water productivity (or efficiency) data informs 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 revenues 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.

Benjamin Ruddell et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1367', Pieter van der Zaag, 15 Jan 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Benjamin L. Ruddell, 31 Mar 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1367', Jani Salminen, 13 Mar 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Benjamin L. Ruddell, 31 Mar 2023

Benjamin Ruddell et al.

Benjamin Ruddell et al.


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Short summary
This study finds that bedroom cities show higher water productivity based on the standard efficiency benchmark of gallons per capita, but core cities that host large businesses show higher water productivity using a basket of economic values like taxes, payroll, and business revenues. Using a broader basket of water productivity benchmarks that consider more of the community’s socio-economic values and goals could inform more balanced and equitable water allocation decisions by policymakers.