Monday, June 21, 2021

Oro Valley Water At 70-80% Capacity Today, But Total Water Use Increasing

Water system running between 70% and 80% capacity
The Oro Valley water system is running at 70%-80% capacity today, according to Oro Valley Water Director Peter Abraham. “We have excess capacity. We have lots of reserviors. Every night we fill them up.” The excess capacity is because of investments made since 2018 to upgrade the entire system. 

No imminent water use restrictions forseen
Speaking at last week’s council meeting, Abraham said that he does not foresee a situation in the immediate or even near term where mandatory water restrictions would be needed. Oro Valley is currently in a Level 1, Voluntary Water Conservation situation. According to Abraham, it has been so for at least a decade. 

The only time Abraham thinks a significant water restriction would happen is if there is a breakdown to a part of the system, such as a major water break in a portion of the water system that does not have sufficient redundancy to switch to an alternate supply. Every year, the department works to reduce areas where this might happen.

Water wasting not an issue
Abraham also noted that “water wasting” is not much of an issue in Oro Valley. He attributed this to the high level of water conservation ethic among the town’s residents.

Uptick in water use since 2018
The town’s total potable water use decreased annually through 2018, accommodating both existing and new users. Total water use has increased since then. “What I’ve noticed in 2019, 2020 and so far in 2021, we’ve been increasing.” Abraham is studying the data. He thinks that some of this increase is because more people were at home in 2020 because of the pandemic. Some this increase may also be because of hotter, drier summer. He plans to keep an eye on it.

Water for growth depends on NWRRDS
As for supplying water for future connections, Abraham stated that the town needs the Northwest Recharge, Recovery, and Delivery System (“NWRRDS”) to be completed. That is a project that Metro Water is leading. Marana  and Oro Valley are participating. It will bring Avra Valley CAP stored water to a reservoir that is closer to Oro Valley.  The project will annually add 4,000 acre feet of water to Oro Valley’s current 10,000 acre foot capacity starting in 2025.