Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Town Seeks to Recertify Its "100 Year Assured Water Supply" Designation

Town seeks its forth 100 Year Assured Water Supply designation 
"Oro Valley's Assured Water Supply (AWS) designation, granted by the state, is critical because it demonstrates long-term water security, facilitating new development. The AWS designation allows developers to receive water service without the need to individually prove a 100-year water supply for their projects, streamlining the development process in the town.”

Certification designed to promote the Arizona economic health According to Oro Valley Water Director Peter Abraham speaking at last week’s council meeting, the certification program “…was created to address the problem of limited groundwater supplies in Arizona, and this came out of the 1980 Groundwater Management Act. It was to evaluate the availability of a 100 year water supply, considering current and committed demands, as well as growth projections. It was to sustain the state's economic health.”

The town must apply for this designation every ten years
The town’s first certification was on January 28, 1997, and it has received two decertifications since then. The latest certification is under state review. Renewing the AWS designation for Oro Valley should be a “slam dunk” according to Abraham, “Oro Valley really is kind of the gold standard by which they hold other communities to, because we don't grow unreasonably fast. They like that we think about water resources and community sustainability and perpetuity.”

Towns goal is to use far less groundwater than is approved
 “Our overreaching goal is to pump 5,000 acre feet a year of groundwater and less. When we commission the Northwest Recharge Recovery Delivery System,” a system that will deliver CAP water more directly to Oro Valley, that “…will be dropping down to 4,500 acre feet a year, 4,000 acre feet a year, 3,500 acre feet a year, further reducing our reliance on groundwater and preserving this designation for the future.”

Abraham: “We, in our application, demonstrate that we meet all criteria” for approval
The water provider must meet the following criteria: The groundwater supply is physically available. The groundwater is legally available for 100 years. The groundwater supply is continuously available. The groundwater of sufficient quality. The groundwater supply is consistent with the management goals of the area. The groundwater supply use is consistent with the management goals of the area. The provider has the financial capability to deliver these water resources.

Abraham is confident about the town’s water future
So ten years from now, I'll be standing before this council saying, our designation will be about 12,400 acre feet a year for the next 100 years. What am I saying? We're in really good shape.”