As Phil Boas' column on Saturday correctly points out, Arizona is facing an ever looming water-shortage crisis. But holding a competition with a $100,000 prize "to one of five teams vying to produce the best strategy for raising Arizonan's consciousness about water" is a colossal waste of money and time, and also misses the mark.
Rather, there is a proven, infallible, tried-and-true way to conserve water: Price water in a rational way to encourage conservation. For example, if water usage were metered such that a single family home's use had one charge per gallon for necessary basic use (drinking, bathing, etc.), but a much higher per gallon charge for non-necessary use (such as lawns), we would see fewer sidewalks and driveways being watered, many fewer winter lawns, and many more conversions to low-water or non-water (desert) landscaping.
Metered-pricing not only would have an immediate dramatic effect on water usage, it likely is the only meaningful way to actually "raise Arizonan's consciousness about water," which it surely would do.