Tucson Water has completed a master plan for the development of
recycled water as a future drinking water resource. Additional planning
and study will begin soon, including discussions with Tucson Water
“We’ve been studying this for some time,” said Tucson
Water Director Alan Forrest. “The ongoing drought and dropping water
levels in Lake Mead, and planning for the impacts of climate change are
making it a higher priority than originally planned.”
However, Forrest added, the development of this renewable
resource will take a number of years. Tucson Water customers will have
opportunities to learn more and provide input on the program, he said.
“The City of Tucson leadership has always supported Tucson
Water in planning far in advance to make sure we have a safe, reliable
water supply for the future,” Forrest pointed out. For example,
planning for the Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal, which today
provides most of Tucson’s water, began in the 1960s. Tucson Water’s
comprehensive Long-Range Water Plan, most recently updated in 2012,
looks ahead to water issues we are facing today and in coming years,
Forrest said. The Long-Range Water Plan can be found on the utility’s
web site at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/water.
Interim Tucson Water Deputy Director and Program Manager, Jeff
Biggs said “The purification technology is available to ensure safe
drinking water. We also have the means to recharge our aquifer and
benefit from natural treatment as part of the purification process.”
Biggs pointed out that water recycling is happening worldwide as a
sustainable practice with locally-controlled, renewable water supplies.
This is especially true in the arid Southwest.
Tucson Water has three decades of experience with the
reclaimed water system using that water for irrigation of parks, school
yards, golf courses, and some neighborhoods. “This Program will build
on that thirty years of success, applying advanced technology, recharge,
and blending with other water supplies to secure a high-quality and
renewable water resource,” said Biggs.
The Recycled Water Master Plan was peer-reviewed by a
group of nationally and internationally respected experts organized by
National Water Research Institute (NWRI), a non-profit group dedicated
to water supply and water quality research. The group that assisted
Tucson Water was chaired by Dr. Shane Snyder from The University of
More information about recycled water and this program is
available on Tucson Water’s web site at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/water.