The City of Phoenix will remain in a Stage 1 Water Alert despite today’s announcement by the United States Bureau of Reclamation to return to a Tier 1 Shortage on the Colorado River in 2024 as a result of a wet winter, which elevated water levels at Lakes Powell and Mead.
While this favorable winter provides temporary relief to the Colorado River System, Phoenix, which receives 40% of its water from the river, is asking residents to continue conserving water due to the unpredictability of the river, prolonged drought, and climate change.
Under the City’s Drought Management Plan, a Stage 1 Water Alert is declared when an insufficient supply of water appears likely due to water system or supply limitations, triggering an intensive public education and information program. Those outreach efforts will continue as the City strategically plans for future uncertainties on the Colorado River, while also evaluating alternative water resources to reduce dependency on the river.
“We must continue working together as a community to conserve and sustain our water supply,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “At the City, we will keep working on substantive, sustainable development policies and investing in long-term plans, including the creation of our regional Advanced Water Purification system. While large-scale investments and policies are important, Phoenix residents can play a critical role by monitoring their water usage and saving as much as possible.”
Since the declaration of the Stage 1 Water Alert on June 1, 2022, the City of Phoenix has demonstrated its commitment to regional water conservation efforts by taking various actions.
In May, the Phoenix City Council approved an agreement with Reclamation, the Arizona Department of Water Resources, and Central Arizona Project to voluntarily forgo up to 50,000 acre-feet of its Colorado River entitlement each year from 2023 to 2025 in return for compensation to support water resource portfolio augmentation and conservation programs.
“We must all do our part to ensure that the Colorado River remains healthy and provides the water necessary for communities,” said Cynthia Campbell, Water Resources Management Advisor. “As a city, we are committed to conservation and doing our part to protect water security.”
The Phoenix City Council also approved an authorization to enter a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with local municipal water providers to support a Regional Advanced Water Purification Facility Study and approved Sustainable Development Water Policies to ensure the City keeps growing responsibly.
Additionally, the Phoenix Water Services Department will soon roll out various incentive conservation programs for commercial and residential properties, including toilet and turf replacement incentives.
“We ask Phoenix Water customers to continue embracing conservation efforts as the utility proactively responds to climate changes,” said Phoenix Water Director Troy Hayes. “In the future, we anticipate more seasonal fluctuations, requiring us to adapt to prolonged wet or dry periods. Our goal remains the same, to produce clean, safe, reliable water to our customers.”
When it comes to water conservation, some of the simplest steps start at home. Up to 70% of water use occurs outdoors, so it’s important to check for leaks and avoid overwatering grass and plants. In the summer, grass and plants need to be watered during the cooler parts of the day a maximum of twice a week, and in the winter, only once a week.
Learn more water conservation tips: phoenix.gov/bewatersmart.