Chandler is proactive in protecting water supply - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler is proactive in protecting water supply

April 29th, 2021 SanTan Sun News
Chandler is proactive in protecting water supply

By the City of Chandler

We live in a desert. Obviously, this isn’t a surprise. Whether you were born here, or have moved here from other locations, you understand the concept of the dry heat and climate unique to the Sonoran Desert in which Chandler is located.

It also isn’t a surprise that since we live in a desert, we must be prepared for dry desert conditions and take measures to ensure that there is an adequate supply of water, now and in the future.

Chandler has done just that. The City has planned, prepared and proactively enacted innovative measures that guarantee it can provide water to residents and businesses not only for today, but for the next 100 years.

Chris Connor, the city’s utility regulatory affairs manager, described the 100-year mark as the water supply requirement mandated by the State of Arizona.

“Water is a limited resource and it takes all of us working together in Arizona to manage supplies and make sure that it isn’t wasted,” Connor says.

Several key factors ensure our water supplies will adequately provide water, even as our population increases and new businesses call Chandler home.

First and foremost is planning. The City has established extensive water allocation policies.

“By setting policies more than thirty years ago, the City ensured that the amount of demand is sufficiently met by the supply,” Connor said. “People might be surprised to learn that our demand for water has actually decreased since Chandler’s early days when agriculture and farming were predominant.

“Even though our population has increased and industries have moved onto former cropland, the measures that we put in place early on have worked to reduce usage.”

Projections are prepared to anticipate the water usage needs, and usage is closely monitored to ensure that the projections are accurate.

This becomes even more important as new developments or expansions are planned; it assures that when development opportunities present themselves, we are prepared to meet the needs.

Also, as systems age, the infrastructure that transports Chandler’s water supply to its users is critical. Chandler has proactively instituted a pipe replacement program, to prevent water waste due to breaks or leaks.

In addition, Chandler performs an annual audit of the water distribution system to further reduce waste.

Another key factor in Chandler’s preparation that sets the city apart is our access to a diverse water supply.

In Chandler our water supply comes from three sources: surface water, ground water and reclaimed water.

Surface water comes from rain and snowmelt and collects in lakes and reservoirs. It makes its way to us via streams, rivers and canals. Water comes from a variety of sources including the Salt River, Verde River and even the Colorado River and Central Arizona Project (CAP) Canal, nearly 1,500 miles away.

Because it comes from a variety of sources, even if one source experiences a shortage, the impact isn’t felt as significantly.

Groundwater is the purest water, pumped from deep in the ground via underground wells. The geology of the ground allows water to collect in underground beds of saturated soil or rock, called aquifers, that yield significant quantities of water.

You can think of these as Chandler’s water savings accounts. Early planners in the mid-1900s had the foresight to design the entire City as a retention basin that can handle extensive rain, and to harvest it throughout the City.

When we do get significant rainfall in Chandler, it recharges the aquifers.

Finally, in Chandler every drop of water is used twice due to our extensive reclaimed water system. Waste water is collected, treated and recycled to be used on golf courses, landscapes and industry.

You’ve probably seen the purple pipes. The treated reclaimed water is processed through a separate system, with nearly 300 customers currently using it regularly. Chandler is a leader in this technology, and the first in the Valley to institute this type of system.

Essentially, the City has invested in the needed resources to effectively manage the limited resource of water in the desert.

It does so in order to provide the best value back to the City and its residents through improved quality of life and opportunities for growth, development and employment opportunities.

Water is a finite resource, and none of it should be wasted. It’s up to us to use our water supply wisely and efficiently, so it will last for the future. But rest assured that we have the water supplies we need for now, and for the generations of the future.