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Water wars: Marana’s future lies in control over sewer system

Water wars: Marana’s future lies in control over sewer system

By Patrick McNamara

Inside Tucson Business

At first glance, the hard-fought battle between Marana and Pima County for lasting control over an obscure wastewater treatment facility appears absurd: Two governments fighting over sewerage.

But underneath the fetid surface lies, for one of the litigants, the potential to solidify or dash its designs for growth and future prosperity.

“Water resources drive our ability to attract businesses and people to live here,” said Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson. “We have a large number of areas we want to see developed (through) managed growth, and to do that we need water.”

Marana, population 35,000, has been locked in legal battle with the county for control of the small wastewater treatment facility at 14393 N. Luckett Road since 2007. The plant has modest capacity to treat 700,000 gallons per day but without control of the facility, Marana has limited options to secure an assured water supply.

The Arizona Department of Water Resources requires that any new development in the five active management areas — those within the urban corridor of Maricopa, Pinal, Pima and Santa Cruz counties — secure a 100-year supply of water to support the population. If that assured supply isn’t available, developers can’t sell lots to be developed.

A key to achieving an assured water supply lies in effluent.

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