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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
6:53 AM Fri, Sept. 21st

PV waterconservation efforts flowing

PRESCOTT VALLEY ­ Conservative attitudes and smart water use in Prescott Valley are translating into a level of water conservation the town's water resource manager said is "probably a nine" on a scale of one to 10.

In 2005, per capita water use in Prescott Valley was about 112 gallons per day, 13 gallons less than the 125-gallon maximum use level the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) imposed on the town in 1980.

Per capita use in 2005 also was about 15 gallons less than per capita use in 2004, despite an increase of about 3,000 users in the service population.

By contrast, ADWR allows Prescott to have a per capita water use of 156 gallons per day. From 2000 to 2004, Prescott used 156 per capita gallons every day.

"I think our citizens should be proud as a group that they have resisted being wasteful," said John Munderloh, Prescott Valley's water resources manager.

However, he emphasized that while "we do have water to use, we don't have water to waste."

Munderloh credits the inverted rate system the town set up in 2003 with helping to curb water use.

Under the system, the first 8,000 gallons used each month cost $2.31 per 1,000 gallons. The next 12,000 gallons cost $2.77 per 1,000 gallons and every 1,000 gallons after 20,000 gallons cost $3.60.

"The more water you use, the more you pay for it," Munderloh said.

In 2005, Prescott Valley pumped about 5,000-acre-feet or more than 1.6 billion gallons of water from its 24 wells, the equivalent of 2,467 Olympic-size swimming pools.

"We're ahead of the game," Munderloh said. "We have a very robust supply system."

Despite the town's relative water security, it is still pushing for increased conservation through various proposed regulatory programs.

These include amendments to building codes to limit landscape water use and the installation of smaller water meters for builders who can demonstrate lower water demand.

Munderloh estimated that outdoor watering accounts for 40 percent of the town's water use annually and as much as 50 percent or 60 percent during the summer.

The town is also creating a multi-pronged educational campaign for children.

"We've found that educating kids is a great way to educate parents and families," Munderloh said.

Crystal Frost, a water resource specialist with ADWR, is coordinating the Oct. 6 "Make A Splash Water Festival" at Mountain Valley Park in conjunction with the University of Arizona.

Yavapai County and all of the tri-city municipalities are participating in the festival.

More than 1,200 fourth-grade students from area school districts are planning to attend, making it the largest ever water festival in Arizona.

"It teaches them about the water cycle, the value of water, ground water issues and watersheds," Frost said. "It's important to educate children at a young age so they can develop lifelong water saving habits."

Contact the reporter at malewis@prescottaz.com