Mengarelli: Good news about water conservation in Prescott
Last month, I wrote about several successes that the City of Prescott celebrated in 2018, and some items that we are anticipating in 2019. One of those important items that the city will be addressing this year is water management and conservation.
First, let me clarify an important fact. The water issues that the State of Arizona is dealing with do not impact Prescott. Prescott draws water from the Little Chino Aquifer. We do not depend on the Central Arizona Project. Therefore we would not be subject to a drought contingency plan as proposed by the state.
We can all agree that water management is in our collective long-term best interest. We must all be good stewards of our valuable water resources, to secure the future of Prescott for generations to come. As leaders, it is imperative for the City Council and staff to understand as much as we can about the past, present and future condition of the city’s water portfolio.
That is why the council has approved a water audit for Prescott, conducted by a reputable outside consultant. This is something that has not been done in decades. The study is being finalized, and we are expecting results to be presented to the council and the public within the month. While the report is not complete, I am pleased to report that some early indicators are showing that the citizens of Prescott have done a tremendous job in water conservation.
I think we can all agree that water conservation is in our best long-term interests and that we have improved our efforts on this front. In 2017, we returned more water to our aquifer than we used. During that year, the City of Prescott used 6,770 acre feet (AF) of water and returned to the aquifer 7,005 AF from our lakes and effluent treatment facilities. In addition, our water usage has decreased 2 percent on average annually since 2004. All of this, while we experienced an average annual population growth of 2 percent during the same time period.
These numbers are encouraging. We are eager to share the full report with the citizens of Prescott, as soon as it is complete.
Once we know where we stand on our current water balance, we can project growth and needs for the future. Only then can we develop solutions. We must ensure that we have plenty of water for generations to come.
Greg Mengarelli is the mayor of the City of Prescott.