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The future of water for Tucson and Marana residents

Tucson Water Plant
Posted at 3:29 PM, Mar 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-02 18:15:18-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The future of water remains a topic of concern in southern Arizona, especially on the heels of some neighborhoods and in other parts of Arizona running out. Recently, the town of Marana and city of Tucson spoke on the topic.

KGUN 9 reached out to those leaders to find out just where Marana and Tucson stand when it comes to our water.

Both the town of Marana and city of Tucson get their water from three different sources.

Those sources include CAP water which is from the Colorado River. The second is reclaimed water, which is waste water that's been treated. The third is ground water stored in the earth from the rain.

Currently local leaders say Tucson has one of the strongest water supplies in the western United States.

"More recently, we've been purchasing all of our available river water through the CAP and storing that and using that for later," John Kmiec, Director of Tucson Water, said. "The early 1980's Tucson Water was one of the first major utilities in the state of Arizona to develop a reclaimed water system. Where we're utilizing highly treated wastewater effluent for non drinking water throughout the community."

More water coverage in southern Arizona:

Kmiec says Tucson currently uses 104.191 acre feet a year of water from the Colorado River, even though the city doesn't use it all.

"That excess water has been banked in the aquifer in Avra valley and in South Tucson for future Tucsonans to use," Kmiec said.

Tucson city leaders are also working on banning ornamental grass.

"So it wouldn't affect single family homes, wouldn't affect schools, parks, places where active recreation is going," Kmiec said. "But it would address those areas where turf is more used as important ornamental piece."

Meanwhile the town of Marana has nearly doubled its population in the past decade. Its city manager Terry Rozema says they have enough water but are working to secure more.

"We're in the middle of a Water Task Force. We're identifying different sources," Rozema said. "We are have an application in with the State Department of Water to increase our designation of assured water supply to essentially double it to approximately 15,000 acre feet. So that we will be able to serve our community well into the future."

While other communities in Arizona like Rio Verde Foothills in Scottsdale run out of water, Rozema says Marana and Tucson residents shouldn't have that concern.

"Do people have to be concerned or worried that we're going to run out of water, that one day they're going to turn on the faucet and no water is going to come out?" Rozema said. " That's just not going to happen."

Rozema recently posted a podcast where he discusses the future of Tucson and Marana's water. To listen, click here.

Denelle Veselik is an anchor and investigative reporter for KGUN 9. It's been her dream to tell your stories for the past decade. She is extremely curious and wants to continue to use her storytelling for the greater good. Share your story ideas and important issues with Denelle by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and X/Twitter.