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Phoenix urges reduced water usage as some supplies are cut

Posted at 9:02 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 00:02:57-04

PHOENIX — Last week the City of Phoenix activated a stage one water alert and its drought management plan as a result of this year's cuts to Arizona's allotment of Colorado River water.

"That means we see an outcome that could be coming where we have a shortfall in the available supplies that we use to provide water to our customers," Cynthia Campbell told ABC15. She serves as the city water resource management advisor.

Campbell says the alert means customers will be asked to voluntarily reduce water usage and the city will begin an "intensive public education campaign."

"We want people to be more aware of what role do they play in (water waste and conservation)," she said.

Phoenix has one of the state's most diverse water portfolios. Nearly 40% comes from the Colorado River through the Central Arizona Project.

More than 50% comes from the Salt River Project. That water originates from the Salt and Verde rivers. But the majority of that water is only allowed to serve certain homes.

"We are obligated to only use water that is associated with SRP water rights in particular areas of the City of Phoenix," Campbell said.

Those water rights belong to homes that were originally part of the farmland put up as collateral in 1903 to secure the federal loan to build the Roosevelt Dam.

The general area that is served by SRP water is south of the Arizona canal. Most of the city north of the canal relies on CAP water and as the drought worsens the city has had to figure out ways to get new supplies of water to those areas not entitled to SRP water.

The solution to that has been to construct a drought pipeline that runs from south Phoenix to north Phoenix and can transport water to the parts of the city that will be subject to CAP water cuts in the near future.

"It's a great engineering feat in the sense that we conceived it probably less than seven years ago and it will be ready to be used later next year," Campbell said.

In the meantime city water officials are trying to get customers to start changing how they use water, and get used to a new normal.

"Every day is a day that would want to practice good water efficiency and conservation. But right now we're entering into a period where we may have less water available to us than we have in the past."

The Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has combined a list of the best times to water landscape.

Residents can also find guides for best times to water landscape and those in need of help with leaks inside homes.