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Desert Road

Extreme Weather
Policy and Advocacy

Droughts and floods are going to increase in frequency in Arizona.  Though we cannot stop the next extreme event, we can implement mitigation strategies at the residential, commercial and legislative levels to increase our resiliency to these events.  Learning about these techniques permits us to encourage action to make these commonplace and not the exception.

Learning About Arizona Legislature 

To have your voice heard in Arizona in need to know what bills are being presented and voice your input on those bills.  Signing up for the REQUEST TO SPEAK PROGRAM (RTS) will allow you to do perform this duty in policy formation.   Follow this information to learn how to sign up and navigate the system!

Advocacy Solutions to Improve Extreme Weather

Decreasing Heat Islands

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Urbanization changes natural spaces with soil and vegetation to buildings and hardscape (streets, parking lots) which in Arizona creates a heat island effect where hardscape absorbs heat all day and releases it at night. To help decrease this warming effect we must decrease some of our hardscape by bringing the natural cooling effect back into our urban spaces. Transforming parking lots with tree canopies and plants to create shade and allow for plants to help cool these areas. Working with urban planners to create more parks and greenspace along our roads. This work is most needed in our lower socioeconomic and communities of color as they have the least greenspace and suffer the heat island effect the most.


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Reusing water for multiple purposes is a common sense practice in the desert. Greywater is water that has been used for washing hands, laundry or shower water; it has some particles in it but is still usable for plants. Common applications include using washing machines and shower outflows to flow towards trees; citrus and fig trees do well with the soap content in greywater. Storing greywater is not advised as this can lead to illness and disease. Creating building codes and incorporating greywater into all residential and commercial buildings can help decrease total water consumption, allow soil to work as a natural water filter, and increase resilience for trees during heat waves and droughts.

Green Infrastructure

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This technique helps bring nature back into cities by creating areas to catch stormwater runoff to hydrate plants and trees. Benefits of this are multiple including: decreasing stormwater runoff, flooding and replenishing groundwater sources; beautification through increasing biodiversity along buildings, sidewalks and roads; decreasing the heat island effect, improved air quality, increased quality of life, improved soil and water quality and even food production. Some techniques include permeable pavers, curb cuts with water collecting basins, and rain gardens near buildings.

Rainwater Harvesting

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Rain is the purest form of water and the only free source shared by all of us. Unfortunately, we don’t allow this water to soak into our soil and replenish the water table despite using wells to pump groundwater for our daily use. We should see the rain as a resource to harvest and plant this back into the ground by slowing rainwater flow, spreading it out and sinking it into our soil. We create resilience for droughts and decrease the flooding from storms through these principles. Rainwater can be actively collected in tanks or passively collected in infiltrative basins to increase vegetation and shade to decrease heat island effect and areas where mosquitoes can reproduce.

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