University of Washington Tacoma

Access*: Interdisciplinary Journal of Student Research and Scholarship

Author Biography

Bailey Wambold is a senior at the University of Washington Tacoma majoring in Environmental Sustainability with a focus on Policy and Law. After serving in the Navy and working a number of odd jobs thereafter, she discovered a deep passion for learning how to live more sustainably and combat climate change, inspiring her to pursue an education in that field. As a firm believer in small actions leading to big changes, Bailey hopes to one day work with a local government agency or nonprofit organization whose mission is to help citizens and businesses adopt more environmentally conscientious and sustainable lifestyles.

Document Type

Undergraduate Research Paper


For a landlocked state dominated by desert, Arizona has done an exceptional job supporting tremendous development and population growth with limited water resources. However, as climate change and anthropogenic environmental degradation further stress the region’s already-strained water resources, the future of Arizona’s still-growing populace hangs in the balance as current water policies and practices are proving inherently unsustainable. Despite an abundance of literature citing the consequences of a liberal attitude towards water in an arid climate, a myopic focus on promoting Arizona’s economic and political growth has resulted in the state’s modern need to adopt previously-unseen conservation measures in order to assure its future survival. Through a review of the history of its water resources, key policies shaping their use, and potential options to address increasing water scarcity, this article lays out a general overview of Arizona’s present water situation and describes the uphill battle it faces to achieve sustainability. A holistic analysis of various policies and practices impacting the state’s water resources highlights numerous pitfalls to and opportunities for enhanced water conservation. This article suggests that a comprehensive approach of greater market incentives, regulation, and education is necessary to remedy this current government failure. If the people and landscape of Arizona are to survive a future dictated by climate change, there must be a fundamental shift in attitudes towards water such that it is valued and efficiently utilized the way a precious, increasingly limited resource should.


University of Washington Tacoma


TECON 410 Economics of Public Policy


Katie Baird