Marana Water News: WateReuse and the water portfolio

On this day in 1921, Congress named the wonderful western border of Arizona the Colorado River. Originally called the Grand River, the Colorado River continues to be a major part of all aspects of life in the West. Understanding the demands on the river, and how to meet them in a sustainable and responsible manner are national issues being addressed in a variety of ways.

This week, water professionals from around the state, Marana Water Director John Kmiec included, are attending the annual state WateReuse Conference in Flagstaff. During these few days, presentations are made on potable reuse applications, advancements in technology, public outreach, and much more.

The conference is presented by the Arizona section of the national WateReuse organization. Their mission is to "educate policymakers and the public about the benefits of water reuse and to advocate for laws, policy and funding to increase water reuse." Water reuse is exactly what it sounds like, recycling water to be used again in another capacity. This water is typically treated domestic wastewater and used more than once before passing back into the water cycle. Places that participate in water reuse are replicating the water cleaning process faster than the water cycle, therefore allowing the water to be used again more quickly. Reuse options include water that is unsafe to drink but can be used for irrigation or industrial use, mixing the recycled water with other sources such as rivers or reservoirs before being reused, or purified to meet drinking water guidelines. For more information on potable reuse in Arizona, watch the video above.

At this year's conference, Mr. Kmiec is presenting on the history of water resources in Marana, and how the department is continually searching for renewable resources to serve our customers. The Town provided water service beginning in 1990, seven years before the water department was founded. Beginning with approximately 500 customers, the department now serves over 6,500 water and over 2,500 wastewater customers. Initially, Marana water only had an allocation of 47 acre-feet (AF) from the Central Arizona Project (CAP). This water was transferred from the Cortaro-Marana Irrigation District when the department took over some of the service area. Until the mid-2000s, groundwater was used to supplement this supply until a second transfer of 1,481af. This transfer from the Flowing Wells Irrigation District brought the renewable supply for the department to 1,528af, which is where the CAP allocation for the department is today.

The CAP allocation is a vital renewable part of the water portfolio, and incorporating water reuse processes will only expand this renewable portion. Marana Water is in development of an effluent recharge basin project that will allow for treated wastewater to be introduced into the aquifer in Marana.

Marana Water's annual water usage by type. The purple area is the projected recharge recovery once the project is completed

Marana Water's annual water usage by type. The purple area is the projected recharge recovery once the project is completed

Using aquifer recharge basins for groundwater replenishment is one method of reusing water. Others forms of water reuse include agricultural or turf irrigation, industrial process water, and surface water replenishment. Treatment technologies such as advanced oxidation, dual media filtration, granular activated carbon, ozonation, and reverse osmosis. Each of these processes treat water differently, but the outcome is very similar; water that has been processed and ready to be treated for reuse. To learn more about these different procedures to produce and to reuse water, and about the WateReuse organization, click here.

Water reliability and sustainability are tenets of the Marana Water mission. Ensuring an affordable renewable water supply is part of every strategic discussion made. Working closely with state agencies, regional water providers, and our water resources coordinator, Marana Water is dedicated to securing water supplies to sustain the Town's future growth planning.