Tucson considering new fee for green infrastructure program

More green to go green

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Tucson has been noted for its water conservation efforts for decades but in recent years has wanted to take that to the next level.

Now it may do that through a Green Stormwater Infrastructure Plan.

While elements of it are already in place, the plan would embrace ways to keep, store and use stormwater rather than allowing it to flow from the city streets to the rivers where it disappears upstream.

Grant Road is a perfect example of what could be road construction far into the future.

The widening project implemented several features which harvests the stormwater and uses it on site.

"Ten years ago, 15 years ago, it might have been built without that green infrastructure feather," said James Macadam, a spokesman for Tucson Water. "Now, it's just the way we do business."

The Senior housing project at Church and Congress is another example.

It is required to have basins, cutouts and vegetation which enhances the experience rather than wastes the water.

New parking lots in the city also are required to have certain water conservation features.

But the new Green program might also include a fee that would be used to maintain the features, “make sure the weeds are cleaned up and the trees are pruned properly,” MacAdam said.

The city council will discuss a possible fee in the coming weeks, "putting a nominal fee on a utility bill."

That money could also be used to maintain the 400 traffic circles and roundabouts scattered throughout the city.

Many are well maintained by residents, but many are not.

“I think what a lot of this is about is adding more tree canopy to the city,” he said. “And doing it in a way that we’re using stormwater as a resource.”

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