Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Possible Water Use Restrictions Fail To Consider Regulating Future Connections

Council considers plans for possible future water restrictions tonight
The Oro Valley Town Council will study water restriction measures that might be required in the future if certain water system events happen. These events are embodied in a possible revision of Ordinance 15-18, Water Conservation. These events relate to water demand and supply.  

No restrictions are imminent
At present, the Oro Valley water utility has the ability to produce and distribute more water than demand requires. It has been that way for many years, especially once the town began accepting Central Arizona Water (“CAP”) in 2012. The town depends on CAP water to provide a sustainable water supply. CAP water has enabled growth.

CAP water restrictions are imminent. At some time in the future, these will impact the town’s water supply. Thus, the town is moving now to define the circumstances under which it would restrict water use; and how it would do so.

Possible restrictions paint a glimpse into a rather gloomy future
The draft Water Conservation ordinance has four water supply event levels. Each level has water use reduction actions the water department will require of users. These range from voluntary actions, in stage 1, to severe restrictions by phase 4. The following chart summarizes the events and the actions.

The draft ordinance includes penalties, the most severe of which is disconnection of services. Other actions include installing a water restriction device on the service to the property.

Restrictions fail to consider new connections
The draft ordinance does not mention new connections. Thus, based on the ordinance as drafted, new connections can be happening at the same time the current users are struggling to meet required water reduction measures. Imagine a 500 unit apartment going on stream during a level 2 restriction. Residents can’t wash their cars but apartment owners can fill their units. This makes no sense.