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AMA Cultural Water Demand - Municipal Demand

Municipal, non-Indian demand is summarized by AMA and water supply in Table 8.0-12.  Average annual demand during the 2001-2005 time-period was almost 1,264,000 acre-feet.  Throughout the planning area, approximately 36% of the municipal demand was met with groundwater, 31% with surface water, 29% with CAP water and 4% with effluent (see Table 8.0-12) although the type of supplies utilized varies substantially among the AMAs.  The Phoenix AMA is unique in that it meets the majority of its municipal demand with surface water from the CAP and the Salt and Verde river systems.  Groundwater is the primary municipal water supply in the Pinal and Tucson AMAs.  Effluent meets almost 7% of the Tucson AMA municipal demand; the largest percentage of any AMA.

Municipal supplies in the Prescott AMA are primarily groundwater, with smaller volumes of effluent and surface water also used.  All of the municipal water supplies in the Santa Cruz AMA are considered groundwater.

Table 8.0-12 Average annual municipal water demand in the AMA Planning Area in acre-feet (2001-2005)

Table 8.0-12

A total of 55 water providers within the planning area each served more than 1,000 acre-feet of water, excluding effluent, in 2005 (see Table 8.0-13).  Of these largest water providers, 34 are located in the Phoenix AMA and met 88% of the Phoenix AMA potable municipal demand.  The 12 largest water providers in the Tucson AMA met 96% of the AMA’s potable municipal demand.  In the other AMAs, the largest water providers met about three-fourths of the AMA’s potable municipal demand in 2005.

Water providers fall primarily into two categories: private water companies and public water systems.  Private water companies are regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), which oversees setting water rates in these service areas.  Publicly owned systems are not regulated by the ACC and have the authority to enact water conservation ordinances and establish water rates as approved by the appropriate governing body.  This authority may provide greater flexibility to manage water resources within their water service areas. Another type of water provider is a Domestic Water Improvement District (DWID), a county improvement district formed for the purpose of constructing or improving a domestic water delivery system or purchasing an existing domestic water delivery system. DWID’s are governed by elected boards that have a variety of powers including setting fees, selling bonds and acquiring waterworks, but cannot enact ordinances.

There are regulatory requirements for all water providers within AMAs.  Under the conservation programs in the AMA Management Plans, ADWR regulates water providers that annually serve more than 250 acre-feet of water for non-irrigation use as large municipal water providers.  The Groundwater Code mandates that these conservation programs require reasonable reductions in per capita water use through time or implementation of conservation measures designed to reduce water use within the service area. The Code also requires that reasonable conservation requirements be established for small municipal water providers.

Golf Course Demand

Pursuant to the Groundwater Code, water provided directly to a golf course by a water provider is categorized as municipal use and is calculated as part of the overall municipal demand.  Groundwater that is withdrawn by the facility itself, through its own wells, is categorized as industrial use.  Data from both municipal and industrial golf courses are shown in Table 8.0-14.  Golf courses used approximately 129,900 acre-feet of water in 2006.  Each AMA within the planning area has golf course demand; however, there are significant differences in the number of golf courses within each AMA and the sources of water used to supply them.

Some golf courses receive effluent, surface water and CAP water either through direct delivery or via recovery of stored water, and these volumes may or may not be calculated within a water provider’s deliveries.  Other unique situations also exist.  For example, in the Santa Cruz AMA, the Palo Duro Golf Course receives water from municipal wells but it also receives remediated poor-quality water from the United Musical Instruments RCRA remediation site. 

Table 8.0-14 Water use by golf courses in 2006

Table 8.0-14

Phoenix AMA

For the 2001-2005 time-period, the annual municipal demand in the Phoenix AMA, excluding Indian demand, averaged 1,030,400 acre-feet.  Municipal water demand has become the AMA’s major non-Indian demand sector and is steadily growing.  Approximately 59% of the potable municipal demand is located within the cities of Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Glendale and Tempe. 

In addition to public and private water companies, water for municipal use, including urban irrigation, is provided by water districts and water users associations. A number of systems are defined as “untreated water providers” in the Phoenix AMA. As shown in Table 8.0-15 the largest of these systems include SRP, Roosevelt Water Conservation District (RWCD) and Queen Creek Water Company. During the 2001-2005 time-period these systems provided an average of 135,800 acre-feet of water per year for urban irrigation.

The largest untreated water provider by far is SRP, which operates an extensive water delivery system that includes portions of Glendale, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa. Its eight canals deliver Salt and Verde river water, supplemented by groundwater, to municipal and agricultural users. It also wheels other types of water, including CAP water, through its system. In addition to providing untreated water for urban irrigation, the SRP system is connected to eight municipal water treatment plants for delivery of potable water through municipal water systems.

The largest water provider in the Phoenix AMA is the City of Phoenix, which delivered 285,301 acre-feet of water in 2005.   Its service area covers more than 500 square miles and serves a population in excess of 1.5 million (2006 estimate).  The City of Phoenix water system also provides water to a portion of the Town of Paradise Valley.  The water system for the City of Phoenix includes four primary sources of supply: surface water from the Salt and Verde river systems provided by the SRP (54%); CAP water (36%); groundwater (3%); and effluent (7%) from three treatment facilities.  The total potable system capacity is currently more than 780,000 acre-feet with a planned expansion to 1.2 maf.  Major system components include five surface water treatment plants (Verde River, 24th  Street, Deer Valley, Valley Vista and Union Hills); the Granite Reef Diversion Dam interconnect facility;  a groundwater well system that includes 30 active wells; and more than 6,000 miles of water mains (City of Phoenix, 2005). 

Camelback Road, Phoenix

Camelback Road, City of Phoenix, Phoenix AMA.  The largest water provider in the Phoenix AMA is the City of Phoenix, which delivered 285,301 acre-feet of water in 2005.

The City of Phoenix utilizes reclaimed water from the Cave Creek Water Reclamation Plant to irrigate turf in northeast Phoenix and provides reclaimed water from the 91st Avenue WWTP, through the Tres Rios Wetlands Project, to the Buckeye Irrigation Company and the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station for cooling purposes.  The City also provides reclaimed water from the 23rd Avenue WWTP to the Roosevelt Irrigation District for agricultural irrigation.  The volume of reclaimed water available exceeds demand and the City is developing ways to fully utilize this water source. (City of Phoenix, 2005)

The cities of Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler and Tempe, all located in the East Salt River Valley Sub-basin and Glendale in the West Salt River Valley Sub-basin, each served over 45,000 acre-feet of water in 2005 (see Table 8.0-13).  The City of Mesa was the second largest provider in the AMA, serving over 89,000 acre-feet of water in 2005. The western part of the Mesa service area is within the SRP and RWCD boundaries and receives Salt and Verde river water. Approximately half of Mesa’s demand is supplied by SRP and 11% by RWCD. Mesa utilizes a variety of other water supplies including groundwater, CAP water, SRPMIC lease water and effluent (City of Mesa, 2004).

The City of Scottsdale delivered approximately 77,000 acre-feet of water in 2005. About 48% of the City’s demand is met with CAP water and 47% by groundwater.  Less than 5% of its water supply is SRP surface water. Scottsdale operates the Scottsdale Water Campus that treats wastewater and CAP water. Wastewater is treated to irrigation standards for use at golf courses, and when irrigation needs are reduced in the winter, the wastewater is treated to drinking water standards and recharged to the aquifer via injection wells. (City of Scottsdale, 2007 and ADEQ, 2008b) 

The City of Chandler was the fourth largest water provider in the Phoenix AMA in 2005; delivering over 58,000 acre-feet of water. Chandler’s municipal water system serves more than 75,000 commercial, institutional and residential customers. In 2005 water supplies include Salt and Verde river water delivered by SRP and RWCD, CAP water, groundwater and effluent. The proportion of water pumped or received from other systems was 67% SRP, 14% CAP and 18% groundwater. At build-out, Chandler predicts that supplies will consist of: 65% SRP, 2% storage, 27% CAP and 6% groundwater. (City of Chandler, 2008). Chandler delivered approximately 3,900 acre-feet of effluent to turf facilities in 2006 and recharged another 7,500 acre-feet.

The City of Glendale was the fifth largest water provider in the Phoenix AMA in 2005; serving approximately 47,600 acre-feet of water. In that year, approximately 56% of the supply was SRP surface water, 43% CAP water and 1.5% groundwater. Part of Glendale’s CAP supply is SRPMIC settlement water including a 99-year lease for 1,800 acre-feet. In addition, approximately 3,000 acre-feet of effluent was delivered to turf facilities and 9,400 acre-feet of effluent was recharged. Chandler also stores CAP water. Approximately 76% of deliveries are to residential customers.

The City of Tempe delivered approximately 45,800 acre-feet of water to customers in 2005. Most of its water supply is surface water from the SRP.  Groundwater provides from 1% to 7% of the total supply depending on surface water availability.  In 2005, about 7% of Tempe’s water demand was met by groundwater. (City of Tempe, 2006) 

Casa Grande

Casa Grande, Pinal AMA.  For the 2001-2005 time-period, the average annual municipal demand in the Pinal AMA, excluding Indian demand, was 28,100 acre-feet.

Pinal AMA

For the 2001-2005 time-period, the average annual municipal demand in the Pinal AMA, excluding Indian demand, was 28,100 acre-feet.  Average annual municipal demand has increased 29% over the 1995-2000 time-period spurred by a population that grew by 65% from 2000-2006.  However, municipal demand is still a relatively small percentage of demand, accounting for less than 3% of the AMA non-Indian demand during 2001-2005.  

There are five population centers within the Pinal AMA: Casa Grande, Coolidge, Eloy, Florence and Maricopa. The fastest population growth occurred in the Casa Grande area where more than half of the municipal demand is located.  Approximately 85% of the municipal demand is met with groundwater, although four water providers serving these population centers hold CAP allocations sufficient to meet almost 50% of the 2006 municipal demand. The lack of water treatment facilities to treat CAP water for potable use is currently a limiting factor to utilization of this supply (City of Casa Grande, 2001).

The largest water provider in the Pinal AMA is a private water company, Arizona Water Company - Casa Grande System (AWCCG), that supplied 14,900 acre-feet of water to Casa Grande and the surrounding area in 2005.  The AWCCG service area is about 140 square miles with a distribution system consisting of approximately 466 miles of pipes.  The primary source of supply used by the AWCCG is groundwater withdrawn from 15 active wells.  The AWCCG also provides untreated CAP water to two private golf courses and an electric power plant within its service area.  In addition, the City of Casa Grande WWTP delivers effluent to the power plant and the City’s municipal golf course. The treatment plant produces approximately 2,800 acre-feet of effluent per year.

The City of Eloy pumps groundwater and receives CAP water to serve its customers. In 2005 the utility delivered approximately 570 acre-feet of CAP water to turf-related facilities, 1,000 acre-feet of groundwater to residential customers and 500 acre-feet of groundwater to non-residential customers of which 360 acre-feet was effluent. The Santa Cruz Water Company serves most of the Town of Maricopa. In 2005 it served 1,200 acre-feet of groundwater to over 6,000 single family units, 300 acre-feet to commercial/construction and 500 acre-feet to landscape irrigation. By 2008, service area water use had more than doubled to over 5,000 acre-feet including 3,600 acre-feet to 16,000 single family units. In that year, almost 1,800 acre-feet of effluent was received from the Palo Verde WWTF, almost all of which was used for landscape irrigation. The Arizona Water Company Coolidge System pumped almost 1,700 acre-feet of groundwater in 2005 to serve primarily residential customers (1,115 acre-feet).  The Town of Florence serves groundwater to over 3,600 residential units, three Arizona State Prison facilities and other non-residential uses. More than 78% of its deliveries are typically to non-residential customers. In 2005 pumpage was 1,606 acre-feet.

Prescott AMA

For the 2001-2005 time-period, the average annual municipal demand in the Prescott AMA was 17,200 acre-feet.  This includes Indian demand as the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe currently receives potable water from the City of Prescott.  The Prescott AMA continues to experience an increase in municipal water use and a decrease in agricultural demand.  Municipal demand accounted for 72% of water use within the AMA and demand is met primarily with groundwater, comprising 85% of the supply.  Effluent met 10% and surface water 5% of the demand during 2001-2005. 


City of Prescott, Prescott AMA. Municipal demand accounted for 72% of water use within the AMA.

The “tri-cities” of Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley are the population centers of the Prescott AMA, with Prescott and Prescott Valley accounting for nearly 75% of the municipal deliveries.  The largest water provider in the Prescott AMA is the City of Prescott, which supplied almost 7,900 acre-feet of groundwater in 2005 to a service area that covers approximately 50 square miles.  Although groundwater is the primary source of water used to meet municipal demand, the City also holds surface water rights, including recently purchased rights to surface water stored in Watson and Willow lakes.  Due to the lack of a surface water treatment facility, any use of surface water is conducted through underground recharge and recovery.  In 2005, the City of Prescott recovered 1,547 acre-feet of surface water and 23 acre-feet of effluent storage credits and delivered approximately 1,400 acre-feet of effluent to primarily turf facilities. In addition, it accrued over 2,900 acre-feet of effluent storage credits that year.

The second largest water provider in the Prescott AMA is the Prescott Valley Water District, which supplied more than 4,400 acre-feet of groundwater in 2005.  In 2005, the District delivered over 300 acre-feet of effluent for golf course use and accrued approximately 1,090 acre-feet of effluent storage credits at the Agua Fria Recharge Facility. The Town of Chino Valley and the newly incorporated town of Dewey-Humboldt meet most of their municipal demand through small private domestic (exempt) wells.

Santa Cruz AMA

For the 2001-2005 time-period, the average annual municipal demand in the Santa Cruz AMA was 7,800 AFA. There is no Indian demand within this AMA.  Similar to the other AMAs, the Santa Cruz AMA is experiencing an increase in municipal demand; however, it is still secondary to agricultural demand.  Municipal demand accounted for 35% of the total demand with the two primary demand centers served by the City of Nogales and Rio Rico Utilities. 

The City of Nogales is the largest water provider and withdrew almost 4,700 acre-feet to serve its customers in 2005. Its service area is located along the international border both east and west of Interstate 19, encompasses approximately 20 square miles, and includes areas both inside and outside the city limits. Nogales currently has a Designation of AWS, with an aggregate volume of 6,322 AFA in normal years, and 5,473 AFA in a drought year.  Total pumpage by Nogales has fluctuated, with a slight increase during the period 1996-2006 (Figure 8.0-21).  Fluctuations can be related to a number of factors including: the number of border crossings, weather conditions, distribution system problems, and record-keeping changes.  Nogales withdrew water from 14 wells in 2005, including an infiltration gallery along the Santa Cruz River and the Potrero well field located west of Nogales.

Figure 8.0-21 City of Nogales, Arizona Water Use 1996-2006

Figure 8.0-21

Municipal water uses consist of residential demand, produce storage and processing, tourist service use, and light manufacturing.  Two turf-related facilities, Palo Duro and Kino Springs golf courses, use water supplied by the City of Nogales.  Residential demand has slightly decreased, while non-residential demand has increased since 1996.  Nogales has a relatively high gallon per capita per day (GPCD) rate due in part to the greater proportion of non-residential water demand (approximately 1:1 with residential use). Part of this non-residential demand is due to water uses associated with the large number of people who cross the border from Nogales, Sonora into Nogales, Arizona each day.  Annual non-residential demand trends closely track the number of border crossings reported by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol; in particular, a reduction in crossings due to increased border security measures implemented in 2001 corresponds to a steep drop in demand.  Overall, the number of border crossings into Arizona at the Nogales ports of entry rose 21% from 1996-2006 (see Figure 8.0-21). 

Tucson AMA

For the 2001-2005 time-period, the total annual municipal demand in the Tucson AMA averaged 180,500 acre-feet, excluding Indian demand.  Municipal demand accounted for 55% of the total non-Indian demand during that period, approximately 69% of which was met with groundwater supplies.  Generally, surface water sources are limited within the Tucson AMA and CAP water is the most abundant renewable supply available. While a number of large providers in the Tucson AMA have a CAP allocation (see Appendix B), many do not have physical access to the supply and currently none are serving it directly. A growing number of providers are using all or a portion of their CAP allocations through storage and recovery. These include City of Tucson (Tucson Water), Metropolitan Domestic Water Improvement District, Town of Oro Valley, Green Valley Domestic Water Improvement District and Vail Water Company.


City of Tucson, Tucson AMA. The central Tucson area is the largest demand center, accounting for approximately 77% of the Tucson AMA municipal demand.

With the exception of Tucson Water, municipal providers in the Tucson AMA that are designated as having an assured water supply rely to a significant extent on the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) to recharge CAP water to offset groundwater pumping.  This allows designated providers to meet the AWS requirement that water use be consistent with the safe-yield goal of the AMA.

Average annual effluent demand in the AMA averaged approximately 12,200 acre-feet during the 2001-2005 time-period.   In 2006, golf courses in the City of Tucson and Oro Valley area consumed approximately 10,000 acre-feet of the 16,830 acre-feet of reclaimed water that was used directly (see Table 8.0-14).  The remainder was served to parks, schools and individual homeowners (City of Tucson Water Department, 2007).

Population centers in the AMA include the central Tucson area, north Tucson/Oro Valley, Marana and the Sahuarita/Green Valley area. The central Tucson area is the largest demand center, accounting for approximately 77% of the Tucson AMA municipal demand. This area is served primarily by the City of Tucson Water Department, the largest municipal water provider in the AMA.  In 2005 it served over 123,400 acre-feet of water to its customers within a service area approximately 300 square miles in size. The City’s system includes both a potable and non-potable (reclaimed) system. (City of Tucson, 2004)  In 2006, Tucson Water’s demand was met with 47% groundwater, 43% CAP water and 10% effluent.

Until the 1990s, Tucson Water relied solely on groundwater and a relatively small volume of effluent for its supply, although it currently has a CAP allotment of 144,000 acre-feet.  In 1992, Tucson Water began direct delivery of CAP water to residential customers.  Those deliveries were discontinued in 1994 due to aesthetic issues and delivery problems.  In 1995, a voter-approved initiative restricted Tucson Water from delivering treated CAP water directly.  In response to this initiative, Tucson Water chose to recharge the CAP water and then deliver the recovered water to customers.   In 1996, Tucson Water began operation of the Central Avra Valley Storage and Recovery Project (CAVSRP) permitted to store 100,000 acre-feet of water per year.  In 2008, a second recharge facility, the 60,000 acre-foot Southern Avra Valley Storage and Recovery Project (SAVSRP), was completed (see Figure 8.5-9).  A series of recovery wells has been constructed in conjunction with each of these recharge sites with the anticipation that Tucson Water will eventually be able to store and recover its entire CAP allocation.

Tucson Water also relies on effluent to meet demand and offset the use of groundwater. In 2000, reclaimed water use accounted for 8% of Tucson Water’s total demand (City of Tucson, 2004).  By 2005 effluent accounted for almost 10% of demand.  By 2009, 17,249 acre-feet of effluent was delivered to customers including 18 golf courses, 39 parks, 52 schools and 700 single-family homes for landscaping (Tucson Water, 2009). In addition to direct delivery of reclaimed water through the non-potable system, the City of Tucson recharges a portion of its effluent. 

In addition to Tucson Water, 11 water providers in the Tucson AMA each served over 1,000 acre-feet of water in 2005.  North and northwest of the Tucson Water service area the largest providers are the Town of Oro Valley, which served approximately 10,500 acre-feet in 2005, and Metropolitan Domestic Water Improvement District’s main system (Metro-Main), which served over 8,700 acre-feet in the same year. The Town of Oro Valley is the second largest municipal provider in the AMA based on the amount of water served.  In 2005, it accounted for almost 6% of the municipal demand.  Historically, the Town of Oro Valley relied exclusively on groundwater.  In 2005, it added CAP water to its supply and began using reclaimed effluent to serve golf courses.  In 2005, it served 473 acre-feet of recovered CAP and delivered 184 acre-feet of effluent. Metro-Main is the third largest provider in the AMA, accounting for almost 5% of the municipal demand in 2006.  Metro-Main has used a high percentage of CAP water since 2003.  By 2006, 98% of Metro-Main’s demand was met with recovered CAP water.

Northwest of Tucson, the rapidly growing Marana area is primarily served by the Town of Marana Municipal Water System (MWS). Part of the Town of Marana is also served by the Tucson Water system. In 2005 Marana MWS withdrew 944 acre-feet of groundwater and received 737 acre-feet of groundwater and surface water from the Cortaro Water Users Association.  West of Marana, the Avra Water Coop served almost 1,100 acre-feet to customers north of Saguaro National Park West in 2005.

In the Sahuarita/Green Valley area the two largest providers have historically been the Green Valley Domestic Water Improvement District (Green Valley DWID) and the Community Water Company of Green Valley.  These two providers served a total of 6,081 acre-feet of primarily groundwater to customers in 2005. In 2005, Green Valley DWID indirectly used 565 acre-feet of untreated CAP water for golf course irrigation through recovery of storage credits.



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