Mayor Cathy Carlat delivers message on Peoria water

Mayor Cathy Carlat

(Editor’s note: News releases are published as submitted unless there are errors of fact.)

The City of Peoria is made up of 178 square miles and is home to over 172,000 residents. As we continue to grow and move our City into the future, I am often asked about important topics related to public safety, transportation, development, schools, and many others. With this in mind, I want to take some time each month to address a different subject that may be on the minds of our residents.

Q: Can you explain the 100-year of assured water supply guarantee?

A: As you have probably already seen in the news, Governor Ducey and the State Legislature passed the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) just before the deadline on January 31st. This was an extensive process that began with many stakeholders more than a year ago and I am pleased they were able to reach an agreement.

It’s important to note that the DCP applies only to users of the Colorado River water that is transported through Central Arizona via the Central Arizona Project canal. The seven basin states that use that water source were all required by the Federal Government to provide new rules for prioritizing their water allocations amid the long-term drought affecting the River.

Protecting water in the desert has been a long-time priority for Arizona leaders. After years of hard, collective work, the Arizona Groundwater Management Act was ratified in 1980 to assure that anyone using groundwater must replace that same amount of groundwater back into the aquifer. A key piece of this legislation is the 100-year guarantee. This critical component of the 1980 Groundwater Management Act requires that new subdivisions in Maricopa County demonstrate a 100-year supply of water before any lot is sold.

Assured Water Supply

Peoria holds a Designation of Assured Water Supply, issued by the Arizona Department of Water Resources. The City has held a Designation of Assured Water Supply since 1997. It is periodically reviewed and updated, with the last update in 2010. You can view the Designation document here.

This Designation means that Peoria has water supplies that are physically, legally, and continuously available for 100 years. Peoria is part of an Active Management Area, which means we must meet the goals and codes of long-term water management as specified in the Management Plan, that the water quality meets all standards, and that the City has the financial resources to deliver that water. Those supplies are matched against the current, committed, and projected demand for the next 100 years. The supplies must exceed the demand and Peoria prudently plans for both. You can find more information on the Active Management Area and Plan here.

Diverse Water Portfolio

Peoria’s water resources portfolio is diverse and was acquired incrementally following decades of planning and foresight by City leaders. Peoria’s water resources are comprised of a variety of replenishable sources of water including Central Arizona Project (CAP) water, Salt River Project (SRP) water, and recovered (well) water. Collectively, these supplies provide the necessary redundancy, resiliency, and operational flexibility to ensure that Peoria continues to foster quality of life by meeting water demands well into the future.

Central Arizona Project: CAP water is the source of supply for roughly 40% of Peoria’s water. The CAP canal transports to Arizona Colorado River water that originally fell as snow in the Rocky Mountains. In addition to treating CAP water for potable uses, Peoria stores CAP water underground for use if CAP water supplies are curtailed.

Salt River Project: SRP water accounts for approximately 30% of Peoria’s supply. This water originates in a different watershed than the Colorado River watershed, in large part the mountains in northern Arizona. If SRP surface water were to run short, SRP has approximately 250 wells to offset the shortage.

Recovery Programs: Recovered water pumped from underground aquifers via wells constitutes over 20% of Peoria’s supply. Each year, Peoria stores more water underground than it recovers. This water is “banked”, just like a savings account for future use. Well water is part of Peoria’s reserve supply and serves as a buffer against shortages on either the CAP or SRP system and provides operational redundancy. If any source of supply is stressed, the remaining sources can be used to meet demands.

Water Conservation

Water conservation is also part of our planning. Through conservation and finite planning, Arizona uses less water annually than it did forty years ago, despite our rapid population growth. Additionally, Peoria has become very good at reusing water for landscaping, parks and urban lakes.

Peoria also offers turf replacement incentives. Low water use plants can create a beautiful setting for any home, and yet limited turf still has its place. If you would like to learn more, visit our water conservation page here.

Peoria’s Designation of Assured Water Supply does indeed represent planning for the next century, so that this desert city can thrive in an arid environment.

I hope you find this information to be helpful. If you have any further questions about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 623-773-5133.

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