Did you know that the Town of Oro Valley’s diligence in securing, managing and conserving its water resources has been so successful that the Water Utility delivers less total water resources per year than it did over a decade ago?
But wait, there’s more! Even though our population has grown, the town uses less groundwater today than it did 20 years ago. How is this possible? It’s the result of outstanding resource management and implementation of new technologies such as the recently launched WaterSmart online customer portal.
Reductions in groundwater pumping started in 2005, when the utility began delivering reclaimed water for the irrigation of golf courses and athletic fields. Further reductions in groundwater pumping occurred in 2012, when the utility began delivering Central Arizona Project water. In 2017, water supplies other than groundwater were used to meet 42 percent of the Town’s water supply needs. The use of reclaimed water and CAP water ended an era when the Town was solely reliant on groundwater to meet its water supply needs. That is a very big deal.
This level of stewardship leaves enough resource availability to support the town’s future growth, even if the CAP drought contingency plans go into effect. There are projects currently under construction—as well as projects in the planning and early design phases—which will meet the needs of future growth and will be paid for by future customers.
The town’s water resource sustainability is not only ensured through the continued development of our diverse water resource portfolio, but also through the use of technologies that assist with water conservation. And this is where you—the customer—play an important role.
Last month, the Oro Valley Water Utility launched the online WaterSmart platform, a user-friendly, self-service web portal that integrates with the Utility’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to provide customers with near real time water consumption data. This technology empowers Water Utility customers to be more actively involved in the challenge of managing our water resources as well as their monthly household budgets. The leak alert and resolution capabilities of WaterSmart give residential customers the tools they need to find and fix leaks sooner rather than later, which saves water usage and lowers water bills. WaterSmart also provides users with detailed water use data, troubleshooting tips for high water use concerns, landscaping ideas and other water conservation resources. Customers can receive personalized water-saving actions based on their specific household characteristics, yard size and historical water use.
The use of AMI and WaterSmart technologies for conservation and water resource management are powerful technologies that enable the Water Utility to ensure the Town’s water resource sustainability. If you haven’t enrolled in this program yet, it’s quick and easy. Just log in to orovalley.watersmart.com with your Oro Valley Water Utility account number. You will then be able to view and set your water use, set bill forecast notifications as well as opt-in for text, email and phone alerts. If you have any questions, please contact our customer service line at 520-229-5000.
Whatever the region’s water supply challenges may be, the Oro Valley Water Utility is well positioned to successfully meet those challenges through the continued implementation of water monitoring technologies and outstanding resource management for the long-term sustainability of our quality of life, public health and this vital, natural resource.
Peter A. Abraham, P.E., is the Town of Oro Valley Water Utility Director. Opinions expressed in this article to do necessarily reflect that of Tucson Local Media.