Paul's Note - February 14, 2020

We are embarking on another discussion about the long range future of our community, this time it’s on a topic I’ve spoken and written about before: our water future.

Tucson Water is preparing a new comprehensive long range plan for the first time since 2004, based on a nationally recognized integrated approach to water resource management known as “One Water.”

When I was growing up, we were told that Tucson was the largest city in the world dependent entirely on ground water. I don’t know how true “largest” was, but the part about being entirely dependent on groundwater hasn’t been true for a long time. Tucson water now manages groundwater, surface water from the Central Arizona Project, reclaimed water and captured runoff.

How we manage this resource in a way that’s fair to residents and businesses is crucial. Not only will we be continuing to grow, but we are facing new challenges like climate change and an over-allocated Colorado River. It’s important to make sure that future water plans are drawn up with as much public input as possible.

The scientific part of this process, gathering data and running studies, started last year. We are currently in the second phase of planning, which will consist of public meetings and other opportunities to comment.

You can find a list of meetings at https://www.onewatertucson.com/engage, and also a chance to submit comments and fill out a survey. Don’t be daunted if you don’t have a degree in hydrology; Tucson Water wants to know simple things like how you use water and what you think our community’s future challenges are.

Thank you for participating. This is the most important issue that our community will grapple with this decade and in the foreseeable future.

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Tucson Parks and Recreation is seeking the communities input. They are seeking input for the plans for a splash pad that will be located outside the pool at Morris K. Udall Park, 7200 E Tanque Verde Rd, Tucson, AZ 85715.

They are looking for comments on the entire plan, spray equipment options, colors, and any other surface features.

To leave your feedback please fill out this short online survey by Wednesday, Feb. 26. You can check out the plans and leave input at bit.ly/UdallSplashPad

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Thursday night, representatives for Tucson Electric Power were at the Ward 2 office holding a public hearing for a substation at Harrison and Speedway.

A few of you may be saying, wasn’t that already approved in 2015?

Yes, it was. However, plans had changed a bit and they decided not to build at that time. They do plan on moving ahead with building the substation, but by the time they will break ground, the authorization they got in 2015 will be expired.

TEP will be going for an extension, but there are some modifications, many of which will make things easier on the neighbors. The original plan called for a 70-foot tall communication tower. That will be eliminated. The transformers, which were relatively close to residences in the old plan, will now be 200 feet away. There will also be changes in the walled in area as well as the detention basin.

TEP hopes that this new facility, located behind the Walgreens on the northwest corner of Speedway and Broadway, will increase capacity and help with reliability.

Because this is a special exemption process and the zoning is already there, this will not be going to Mayor and Council. There will still be a zoning examiner hearing if you want to express concerns. No date has been set yet, but you can find more information on the project at https://www.tep.com/harrison-substation/.

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Happy Birthday Arizona! I hope you all have a great weekend.