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Western Plateau Planning Area Cultural Water Demand - Municipal Demand

Figure 6.0-18 Average Annual Western Plateau Planning Area Cultural Water Demand by Sector, 2001-2005 (in acre-feet)

Figure 6.0-18

Total cultural water demand in the Western Plateau Planning Area averaged approximately 9,600 AFA during the period 2001-2005.   As shown in Figure 6.0-18, the agricultural demand sector was the largest use sector with approximately 4,600 AFA of demand, 48% of the total.  With the exception of small pastures, agricultural demand occurs only in the Kanab Plateau and Virgin River basins.  Approximately 57% of agricultural demand was met by groundwater during 2001-2005. Municipal demand represented about 42% of the total planning area demand with an average of approximately 4,000 AFA during the period 2001-2005. Municipal demand was primarily met by groundwater and the municipal sector was the only sector that utilizes effluent.  Industrial demand, primarily related to golf course irrigation, accounted for more than 900 AFA, 10% of the total demand during this period.  Tribal water demand is included in these totals.

Municipal Water Demand

Municipal water demand is summarized by groundwater basin and water supply in Table 6.0-10.  Average annual demand during 2001-2005 was approximately 4,000 acre-feet.  Sixty-seven percent of the municipal demand is met by groundwater.  Surface water is used in the Coconino Plateau Basin by Williams and Grand Canyon National Park-South Rim, and in the Kanab Plateau Basin by Grand Canyon National Park-North Rim, Jacob Lake and in the vicinity of Marble Canyon.  Effluent is used for golf course irrigation in Williams, toilet flushing and irrigation at Tusayan and Grand Canyon Village and irrigation and fire protection at Valle.

Table 6.0-10 Average annual municipal water demand in the Western Plateau Planning Area, 2001-2005 (in acre-feet)

Table 6.0-10

Table 6.0-11 Water providers serving 100 acre-feet or more of water per year in 2006, excluding effluent, in the

Western Plateau Planning Area

Table 6.0-11

Primary municipal demand centers are Beaver Dam/Littlefield, Colorado City, Fredonia, Grand Canyon National Park, Tusayan and Williams.  Five water providers in the planning area served 100 acre-feet or more of water in 2006.  These providers and their demand in 1992, 2000 and 2006 are listed in Table 6.0-11. Although Fredonia used about 440 acre-feet of water in 2003, its water supply is from Utah, thus it is not included in the table. It is estimated that about 65% of the planning area population is served by a water provider.  In 2006, municipal utilities served the communities of Fredonia and Williams. Municipally-owned systems have more flexible water rate-setting ability than private water companies, which are regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission.  In addition, municipal utilities have the authority to enact water conservation ordinances.  These authorities may enable municipal utilities to better manage water resources within water service areas.  Water provider issues are discussed in section 6.0.8.

City of Williams

Until recently, the City of Williams was completely reliant on surface water.  Due to drought conditions that impacted surface water supplies, Williams has developed a groundwater system to use during periods when reservoir levels are low or to blend with surface water to aid in water treatment.  Annual water demand and supply fluctuates from year to year.  In 2006, Williams diverted 155 acre-feet of surface water and withdrew 389 acre-feet of groundwater. In 2007, just 85 acre-feet of surface water was diverted and 512 acre-feet of groundwater was pumped.

Municipal uses include residential, commercial and the only municipal golf course in the planning area.  In 2006 Williams delivered 184 acre-feet to residential customers and 305 acre-feet to non-residential customers. The Elephant Rock Golf course used 153 acre-feet of effluent for irrigation in 2006, its only water supply that year.

As the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon”, tourism is an important part of the local economy with hotels, restaurants, gas stations and other services.  Williams maintains a metered standpipe for water haulers, restricted to households built as of June 2000.  In 2000, Williams had 495 registered non-commercial water hauling customers. Some of the water used in the unincorporated residential community of Red Lake, located north of Williams, is hauled from Williams.  Use of the standpipe service by commercial haulers is restricted during drought (Pinkham and Davis, 2002).  Expansion of both its water and wastewater treatment plants may be needed in the near future.  Because much of the area surrounding Williams relies on hauled water and delivers septic tank waste to the city wastewater treatment plant, the City is in the position of providing these services outside of its service area.

Main Street Williams

Main Street, City of Williams. Until recently, the City of Williams was completely reliant on surface water. Due to drought conditions that impacted surface water supplies, Williams has developed a groundwater system to use during periods when reservoir levels are low or to blend with surface water to aid in water treatment. 

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park, with about five million visitors a year and a year round population of almost 1,500 at Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim, is one of the largest municipal users in the planning area. Seasonal employees at Grand Canyon Village increase the summer population by about 40%.  The Village includes a school, medical clinic, fire station, administrative offices and other services in addition to hotels, restaurants and campgrounds.  The South Rim receives most of the Park’s visitors and uses almost 90% of the water. By contrast, the North Rim is closed from mid-October to mid-May, has limited services compared to the South Rim and receives one-tenth the number of visitors. (Pinkham and Davis, 2002) 

Colorado River in Grand Canyon NP

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park Water Utility services all the developed areas within the Park boundaries using water transported from Roaring Springs located below the North Rim in the Kanab Plateau Basin.  The utility serves the South Rim, Desert View, North Rim, Roaring Springs, Phantom Ranch and Indian Gardens (NPS, 2006). It also provides a relatively small volume of hauled water to the U.S. Forest Service-Tusayan.  In 2006, 883 acre-feet of water was diverted at Roaring Springs, however this was not all delivered.  Excess water diverted at Roaring Springs and transported to the South Rim by the Trans-Canyon Pipeline overflows at Indian Gardens and returns to the Colorado River. Of the water diverted, almost 600 acre-feet entered the North and South Rim systems in 2006.  Of this, 432 acre-feet was reported delivered to customers on both Rims; 105 acre-feet to residential and 327 acre-feet to commercial customers. In addition, 3 acre-feet was delivered to the U.S. Forest Service-Tusayan Ranger Station. The utility does not separately report North and South Rim water deliveries on its Community Water System annual report. The estimated demand for each system shown in Table 6.0-10 is based on average daily demands reported by the Park in its System Water Plan (NPS, 2006).

The South Rim Wastewater Treatment Plant generated about 463 acre-feet of effluent in 2006. Water is treated to ADEQ A+ standards and has been reused for toilet flushing at the visitor center and employee rest rooms, to wash down portions of a kennel, for the railroad steam engine, dust control, revegetation efforts and on a small amount of turf at the El Tovar Lodge.  While the reclaimed water distribution system is relatively extensive, on-site plumbing is incomplete (Pinkham and Davis, 2002).   In 2006, 37 acre-feet of effluent was used for firefighting and 140 acre-feet was used for landscaping, toilet flushing and construction.


The small, unincorporated community of Tusayan is located about a mile south of the entrance to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.  It is surrounded by public land and has a population of about 600.  Tusayan’s economy is based on tourism including hotels, restaurants, an airport and visitor service establishments (Pinkham and Davis, 2002).

HydroResources-Tusayan serves approximately three-quarters of the water demand at Tusayan utilizing two 3,000-foot deep wells that produce 65 to 80 gpm.  Other water systems are ADOT, which serves the Grand Canyon Airport, and Anasazi Water (HydroResources, 2007).  However, both systems received water from HydroResources in 2006 and 2007.  The community relied on small local wells and hauled water prior to 1995 when the deep wells and reclaimed water began to be used (Pinkham and Davis, 2002).  For example, in 1992 Tusayan water was provided by the Canyon Squire Inn well (64 acre-feet), and water hauled from Williams and Bellemont (40 acre-feet) and Grand Canyon National Park (30 acre-feet) (USDA, 1999).

Anasazi Water has one well, and in addition to receiving water from HydroResources, it may use a relatively small amount of hauled water from Williams or Valle.  Both HydroResources and Anasazi Water wholesale water to the Tusayan Water Development Association, which bills water customers, but does not operate the water systems.  The two systems are interconnected to ensure uninterrupted service to the community and HydroResources owns a well in Valle from which water may be trucked to Tusayan in an emergency.

HydroResources withdrew 153 acre-feet of water in 2006 and delivered 19 acre-feet to Anasazi Water and 6 acre-feet to ADOT.  Within its service area, it served 10 acre-feet to residential customers and 116 acre-feet to non-residential customers. All water used indoors in Tusayan is treated at the South Rim Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Effluent is used extensively for toilet flushing and irrigation.  In 2001, almost 70 acre-feet of effluent was used at Tusayan (Pinkham and Davis, 2002). Although annual effluent use volumes are not reported by HydroResources on its Community Water System annual report, the utility reported that 30-40% of its former groundwater withdrawals have been replaced by effluent (HydroResources, 2007).

ADOT-Grand Canyon Airport operates a rainwater collection system consisting of 5 acres of Hypalon plastic, which provides potable water to the terminal, office, hangar facilities and a dozen homes.  However, ongoing drought conditions have required the purchase of water from HydroResources-Tusayan (GCNP Airport, 2008). The airport has also used reclaimed water for irrigation (Pinkham and Davis, 2002).

Colorado City

Colorado City is located in the Kanab Plateau Basin in Mohave County on the northern border of Arizona, adjacent to Hildale, Utah.  The two communities have close cultural and economic ties, with nearly half of the population employed in Hildale.  The community was initially settled by ranchers in the early 1900’s but around 1930 a religious group from Utah settled in the area and played a major part in shaping the present-day community (USDOI, 2007). 

Colorado City is the largest community and municipal demand center in the planning area with a 2006 population of more than 3,300 and water demand of over 1,300 acre-feet served by two systems; Centennial Park Domestic Water Improvement District (DWID) and Twin City Water Works (TCWW).  The wastewater treatment plant in Colorado City was closed in 2002 and wastewater is now treated at a plant in Hildale.

Agriculture in Colorado City

Agriculture in Colorado City.  Colorado City is located in the Kanab Plateau Basin in Mohave County on the northern border of Arizona, adjacent to Hildale, Utah. 

Most of Colorado City is served water pumped from wells owned by TCWW, which also serves Hildale Utah.  TCWW owns five wells in Arizona and additional system wells may be located in Utah.  The City buys water wholesale from TCWW, treats it to drinking water standards, and delivers it to customers through its water delivery infrastructure. Based on verbal communication with system representatives, about two-thirds of the water delivered by TCWW is used in Colorado City, totaling approximately 976 acre-feet in 2006. Municipal uses include residential, commercial and light manufacturing but Colorado City does not separately report these deliveries.

The southeastern part of Colorado City is served by Centennial Park DWID, which operates three wells and serves domestic customers.  Centennial Park DWID does not have an interconnection to another system and is not completely metered.  In 2007 it reported withdrawals of 346 acre-feet. 

Beaver Dam

Beaver Dam.  The communities of Beaver Dam, Littlefield, Scenic and the surrounding area in the Virgin River Basin are experiencing development due primarily to the nearby rapidly growing community of Mesquite, Nevada.

Beaver Dam/Littlefield

The communities of Beaver Dam, Littlefield, Scenic and the surrounding area in the Virgin River Basin are experiencing development due primarily to the nearby rapidly growing community of Mesquite, Nevada.  These communities provide housing for much of Mesquite’s workforce and for retirees (USDOI, 2007).  The area is served by private water systems or domestic wells.  The largest system is Beaver Dam Water Company, which reported withdrawals of 160 acre-feet from three wells in 2007. (Withdrawals in 2006 were from engineering estimates and are much greater than metered 2007 and 2008 data). It delivered almost 139 acre-feet to residential customers and 21 acre-feet to non-residential customers in 2007. Beaver Dam East DWID withdrew 13 acre-feet of groundwater from one well in 2006 and served residential customers only. The area is anticipated to experience population growth with associated increases in municipal demand.

Other Communities

Fredonia, in the Kanab Plateau Basin, is the largest town in Coconino County on the Arizona Strip.  It was founded in 1885 with an economy based on agriculture, timber and mining.  A sawmill operation at Fredonia closed in 1995 and tourism, government activities and agriculture are the primary current economic activities. The population of Fredonia declined between 1990 and 2000 by about 14% but is now slowly increasing. 

In 2007 Fredonia reported that all water used was transported by pipeline from Utah and did not report the volume or type of water supply delivered.  In 2003, about 440 acre-feet of water was served by the Town of which about half was reported delivered from Utah. Approximately 160 acre-feet of effluent is produced at Fredonia but not reused.

Valle, located between Williams and Tusayan, is a small but rapidly growing community that grew by 334% between 1990 and 2000.  It is served by two water systems with wells over 3,000 feet deep.  One of these systems is owned by the Grand Canyon Inn, which also operates a wastewater treatment plant and a standpipe for water haulers. The Inn uses wastewater to irrigate landscaping at the hotel and for fire protection.  Water demand data are not available for this system.

The other system, HydroResources-Valle, serves the Grand Canyon Valle Airport, a mobile home park and operates two standpipes for water haulers. In 2006 it withdrew 35 acre-feet from one well. This system is not interconnected to any other system and emergency water is hauled from Tusayan. A small wastewater treatment plant serves users on this system and effluent is used to irrigate a ballpark. 

The area surrounding Valle is primarily composed of large lot development without sewer or water service. Most residents must haul water and use septic systems for wastewater disposal.  Despite the lack of services, there has been significant subdivision activity in the area (Pinkham and Davis, 2002).


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