The Santa Cruz River Heritage Project

The Santa Cruz River Heritage Project turns one year old in June pdf.
El Proyecto de Patrimonio Cultural del Río Santa Cruz cumple un año en junio pdf.
Kids! Color your own Santa Cruz River Heritage Project mini-poster compliments of Annotated Audrey. pdf.

The Santa Cruz River Heritage Project is an excellent example of how Tucson Water continues to ensure reliable water resources for our community. The project adds up to 2.8 million gallons of recycled water daily (3,150 acre feet a year) to the Santa Cruz River at a point south of downtown near the heart of the city. This added water will bring perennial flow to this portion of the river, fostering abundant native vegetation and wildlife along with new recreational and economic opportunities.

Re-use of treated wastewater is one of Tucson’s most significant water conservation tools. This treated wastewater is referred to as reclaimed water, and represents about 10 percent of our water resources. Currently about half of Tucson’s reclaimed water is not used by customers and is discharged into the Santa Cruz River further downstream, near the city’s northwestern edge. The location of this discharge causes Tucson Water to lose physical and legal control of this valuable resource.

The Heritage project uses existing infrastructure to bring recycled water to this location for in-channel aquifer recharge and riparian habitat expansion in the Santa Cruz River. A 980-foot pipeline, called an outfall, brings water from the reclaimed system down into the river channel where it creates a perennial flow (see map pdf); a narrow stream of water within the larger river channel. This purified reclaimed water re-enters our water system as groundwater recharge and percolates through the ground to enter the aquifer. Once in the aquifer this water is stored for later use, preserving the future resiliency of our local water system and supply.

The Santa Cruz River Heritage Project is spotlighted in the March/April issue of World Water. Read the article here pdf.

For additional information, contact the Public Information and Conservation Office at 520.791.4331 or