Council mulls water conservation amendment - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Council mulls water conservation amendment

Town could make greater use of gray water

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Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2008 11:00 pm

Marana may be getting some new guidelines for water conservation.

The town council has heard recommendations from the utility department to amend the water portion of the town code to include water-saving measures.

Marana’s water department has been working with the Water Conservation Alliance of Southern Arizona to provide suggestions for saving water within the town. Water CASA includes the water departments of many outlying communities in the Tucson area, including Marana, Oro Valley, Green Valley and Sahuarita. The organization’s goal is to provide standardization in its members’ conservation efforts.

Some of the conservation recommendations include installing gray water collection devices on large residential lots, limiting the amount of high-water plants, and installing water-saving urinals.

Gray water comes from baths, washing machines and showers, and is commonly used for irrigation and sprinkler systems. It is not be confused with reclaimed water.

One of the ways the town implicitly controls water use is through its tiered pricing system. Residents who use a higher amount of water pay a higher rate for it.

Conservation efforts are easier on the town wallet than trying to find new water sources, said Val Little, director of Water CASA.

“Everybody in the region is concerned with where the next source of water comes from,” Little said. “Everybody is looking more at rainfall harvesting, gray water for irrigation.”

While an actual amendment to the town code is months away, certain aspects of the report provoked response from some council members.

Council members Jon Post and Roxanne Ziegler believe the recommendation to discourage individual pools in future planned developments is too harsh. They don’t think the council should tell people what they can and can’t do on their property.

“Water will probably be a small task force,” said Town Manager Mike Reuwsaat.

The recommendations can take the form of an amendment to the town code, or merely an advisory policy, but actual changes will likely be months away, the town manager said.

Because Water CASA’s members are located in a desert, they are more aware of the problem than water providers in other areas of the country, Little said.

“I think it’s important to know the staff and elected officials are very committed,” Little said.

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