Written by Ashley Bleggi
As far back as 1926, Arizona has been a leader in the ever evolving world of water reuse. With the release of the 2019 Arizona Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard, we want to take a look at the recent insights our surveys have uncovered, as well as the current state of reclaimed water legislation in Arizona.
Overall, about 15% of all the utilities we surveyed for 2019 provide reclaimed water. As discussed in the EFC’s 2017 Arizona Water & Wastewater Rates Report , reclaimed water is significantly cheaper to produce and sell in part due to low energy requirements. Investing in reclaimed water processes allows utilities to avoid the costs of transporting wastewater long distances to surface discharge points, or investing in costly groundwater recharge infrastructure. This trend of reclaimed rates low comparative cost continues into 2019 with the data below showing reclaimed water bills to be nearly four times cheaper than both water and irrigation charges at the same 7.5 kgal consumption level. Continue reading
By Cole Wilhelmi and David Tucker
Ongoing severe drought conditions in the American Southwest offer the powerful reminder that our water resources should not be taken for granted. With increasing environmental pressure comes greater demand for policies and technologies that prioritize conservation and efficiency in water systems. The EFC examined these and other questions about water pricing, conservation, affordability, cost recovery, and regulation in a recent project to study water and wastewater rates and finances in the state of Arizona, in partnership with the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona.
One promising method to help communities achieve water supply sustainability goals is through the use of reclaimed water. Reclaimed water is treated wastewater that is reused in a variety of agricultural, commercial, and landscaping applications, instead of being discharged into dry washes, rivers, or lakes. The EFC’s aforementioned study on water and wastewater rates included our first survey of reclaimed water rates in Arizona, which is one of the few states in the union making extensive use of reclaimed water. In central Arizona, 95% of the wastewater generated is reclaimed to serve beneficial uses. And 82% of current water reuse in the U.S. overall occurs in Arizona, Texas, California, and Florida. Let’s now take a closer look at the regulations, advantages, and pricing for Arizona’s reclaimed water.