City of Tucson takes up water issues critical to its future supply

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 9:37 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Water issues have been on Tucson’s radar for decades, which is why the city is one of the most water-efficient cities in the country.

Today, that was obvious as the city took up four water issues during its Mayor and Council meeting.

Near the top of the list was PFAS in the water. It’s a known pollutant that the city is spending millions of dollars to clean out of its water aquifers to ensure the water can be used in the future.

So far, the city has closed 22 wells and restricted six others to help keep PFAS out of the drinking water.

But the concerns persist.

“We need to take action quickly,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “Because our aquifer is a closed aquifer and PFAS can spread throughout our aquifer and could potentially damage our ability to use that water.”

The city also approved a pilot program to lower urban farmers’ water rates. Those urban agriculturalists help local food banks and other distributors feed the poor and others in need.

It also helps people who receive SNAP benefits stretch their food budgets to include fruits and vegetables.

The city also cracked down on businesses and developers who have been skirting around a city ordinance that requires them to use captured rainwater to irrigate their landscaping.

The city discovered an error in the process, which has been corrected.

“It had become an open secret within the development community that the plans were not being reviewed properly and sites were not being inspected for compliance with the ordinance, so in many cases the ordinance was not being followed,” said Ward 3 Councilmember Kevin Dahl.

A report released to the council today states that 137 sites were inspected; while many were in compliance, those that were not were told how to comply and reinspected. The city also hired three new employees to ensure the ordinance is enforced.

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