Transforming the Reclaimed System

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Reclaimed Water: Maximizing Your Water Today. Ensuring It's Ready for Future Use.

purple pipes photo

April 26, 2021

Maximizing Every Drop

The utility’s reclaimed water system is an important water resource. It helps to meet up to 12% of the total water used in the Tucson Water service area.

Separate from the potable (drinking) water system, the reclaimed system is 173 miles of pipe, 15 boosters, and 6 reservoirs serving more than 1000 customers, and facilitating the storage of billions of gallons of recycled water for the future.

Tucson Water uses some of its recycled water to produce reclaimed water for irrigation, dust control, firefighting, industrial uses, and creating and supporting wildlife habitat. Irrigating golf courses, schools, parks, and medians with reclaimed water is the primary customer use. 

Demand for reclaimed water increases during the hotter, drier summer days. During this peak demand, Tucson Water can deliver more than 30 million gallons of reclaimed water a day. 

Click here to see a reclaimed system story map, types of uses, and customers.

Recharging and Storing Reclaimed Water for the Future

Only about half of Tucson Water’s reclaimed water resource is used by customers in the winter months. To maximize use of our community’s reclaimed water supply during off-peak months, the utility recharges and stores reclaimed water in the aquifer, ready to pump and use.

At the end of 2020, Tucson Water’s storage balance of reclaimed water was 11.5 billion gallons.  

Here’s how Tucson Water’s newest reclaimed facility, the Southeast Houghton Area Recharge Project (SHARP), recharges and stores recycled water into the aquifer:

diagram

 

In addition to SHARP, these recharge and storage projects are open to the public, support nature, and ensure water security:

1996   Sweetwater Wetlands  

Sweetwater Wetlands is a working reclaimed-recharge facility plus a flourishing 60-acre public park, wildlife habitat, and outdoor classroom.

2019  Santa Cruz River Heritage Project 

Tucson Water uses existing infrastructure to release up to 2.8 million gallons of reclaimed water a day to a portion of the Santa Cruz River at a point south of downtown near the heart of the city. This flow travels and soaks into the riverbed, recharging the aquifer and nurturing a riparian area. Click here to learn more.

creek photo


 

 

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This article appeared in the May 2021 edition of Water Matters.


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