Tucson harvesting rainwater as part of its 80 year water master plan

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 8:46 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With all the water now pouring through California, it’s too bad it can’t be harnessed and utilized in an extreme drought. Some Californians, like the Sierra Club, are talking about new and expensive infrastructure to harness it, store it in big reservoirs and use as needed.

“Rainwater falls into our laps,” said Tucson City Council member Kevis Dahl during a discussion of the city’s new One Water 2100 plan.

The one water 2100 a plan to that will treat rainwater as equal to CAP water and groundwater and recycled water., all water will have equal value regardless of its source.

There have been some stop and go, half hearted attempts to harness rainwater in the past, but until now, rainwater was generally flushed and forgotten.

“But the unique thing we’re doing with this master plan is we’re incorporating storm water, rainwater looking at those natural water resources that are coming into the community and integrating them with this master plan,” said John Kmiec, the Tucson Water Director.

Arizona is on a path of water instability, brought to the forefront here in Tucson yesterday during Governor Katie Hobbs encore state of the state address, when she said she will release a report which shows the Westside of Phoenix does not have an adequate water supply, a report buried by the Ducey administration. “This report unequivocally shows that we have to act now or this will only be the first new area that faces this kind of shortage,” Hobbs said.

During today’s study session the Tucson city council, was brought up to date on the 80 year water plan amid great uncertainty because of the multi year drought which has nearly drained Lake Mead, Tucson’s primary water source. One advantage Tucson has is, it’s community is well versed in water issues. 86% are already conservation savvy, giving Tucson a running start.

“Conservation was the top term and that makes sense to me,” Dahl said. “So much of all the four sources of water we’re talking about, conservation, wise use, not using water wastefully or for silly reasons is the direction we need to go.”

But most Tucsonans, it seems, already know that.