Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tucson Water Receives Recognition for Water Conservation Program

Western Resources Advocates has recognized Tucson Water for its efforts in water conservation programming. The recognition from the Boulder, Colorado, non-profit environmental law and policy organization was based on results of its recently completed study “Arizona Water Meter.”

The study provides an in-depth examination of water conservation efforts in fifteen Arizona communities, utilizing seven criteria for analyzing the depth of programming that each community offers. The criteria are: per-capita water use, water rate structures, community-based conservation programs, ordinances, funding for programs, distribution system losses, and effluent use. Tucson ranked second, tying with Phoenix, among the communities included in the study. Prescott ranked first.

“We are very pleased to receive this recognition by Western Resource Advocates,” stated Jeff B. Biggs, Director of Tucson Water. “Tucsonans can be proud of the fact that we have been leaders and innovators statewide and across the country for our efforts, which go back to 1977.”

Tucson Water customers were asked in 1977 to refrain from water during certain times of the day due to inadequate infrastructure that was unable to meet peak water demands during the hot summer months. The result of this crisis was the creation of the Beat the Peak conservation
program and the institution of inclining block rates to reinforce the conservation message.

The drivers behind the need for a water conservation program have changed since then. The 1980 Groundwater Management Act created water conservation for all groundwater users, including municipalities, in certain areas of the state suffering from over drafting of regional aquifers. Introduction of Colorado River water into the region has helped to reduce the over drafting.

Water conservation programming continues to play a critical role with Tucson Water managers. Long-term water planning now incorporates demand management programming as part of the strategy for developing and managing water supplies. According to Director Biggs, “It is no longer about not using water; rather we now focus on the efficient management and use of all water resources.”

An award recognizing Tucson Water’s achievements was presented at a ceremony at the Phoenix Botanical Garden on Thursday, October 14, 2010.