Here’s a way to help Tucson prepare for the next 80 years of water use

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 8:07 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As the drought continues to hammer Arizona and the Colorado River system, Tucson is trying to make plans for a water future into the 22nd century.

It’s called One Water 2100 and the city wants to know how you might fashion that future.

“Every drop of water, irrespective of the source, every drop of water is something we need to preserve,” said Ward 6 Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik.

What makes this different from all other water plans is that all water is taken into consideration regardless of where it comes from.

“We want to show all water has value,” said John Kmiec, the Tucson Water Director. “We value our surface water supplies, our groundwater supplies, our reuse supplies as well as rainwater and stormwater.”

The last time Tucson put together a comprehensive water plan which looked into the future was nearly 50 years ago and considered surface and groundwater sources. But times have changed.

“We’re already in the 2020′s, so we thought it would be a good idea to look at the next main target at the end of the century, Kmiec said.

And that 80 year plan will also consider what to do with those other sources, like rainwater, greywater and such.

So now it’s looking for customer input through a survey called One Water 2100. A link can be found here.

“A lot of the community is savvy with water and understanding that there’s different types and the way we use water in the community is unique compared to other communities around the country,” Kmeic said.

The survey will ask whether conservation methods should be voluntary or whether the city should impose stricter enforcement, especially for those who waste water. Or whether at some point, we here in Tucson should be drinking treated wastewater, sometimes called toilet to tap.

“That’s a conversation we have to have, that’s part of the One Water conversation, Kozachik said. “When this was first rolled out a couple of decades ago, the city did a poor job of marketing it and the yuck factor, people couldn’t get out of the way of it,” Kozachik said.

The survey will determine whether the yuck factor has finally given way to pragmatism.