The Town of Marana was incorporated in 1977 to protect the community's water rights. In January 1997, the Water Department was established with just 500 customers. As a municipal water department, the Town applied for and secured a Designation of Assured Water Supply from the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). This provided the Town with an amount of available groundwater to pump to meet the needs of its customers. As the Town began to experience substantial growth in the early and mid-2000s, the need for additional water supplies was apparent.
Marana is part of the Tucson Active Management Area, where groundwater is managed by the ADWR to achieve was is determined to be "safe yield," which means for every gallon of water pumped from the ground, a gallon of renewable water supply needs to be put back into the aquifer. Below is a list and brief description of the renewable water supplies that the Town uses now and will be using in the future in order to offset native groundwater pumping.
CENTRAL ARIZONA PROJECT (CAP)
The CAP is a 336-mile canal that delivers water from the Colorado River to residents in central and southern Arizona to a terminus south of Tucson. This is the Town's primary source of renewable water supply. The Town uses this water by recharging it into the aquifer at the Lower Santa Cruz Recharge Project, which is located just north of the Marana Airport, along the Santa Cruz River. The Town has an annual allocation of 2,336 acre feet (a/f) of CAP water. As a point of reference, an acre foot is 325,851 gallons of water. In 2012, the Town pumped 2,089 a/f of water to supply its residents and businesses.
LONG-TERM STORAGE CREDITS
In order to make up the deficit between the CAP allocation of 2,336a/f and the reminder of water needed, the Town pumps water that is classified as long-term storage credits. By definition, this is water that has been stored in a recharge facility and pumped at a later time. The Town has credits in a Long-Term Storage Account that is overseen by the ADWR. The Town has in the past purchased long-term storage credits from other CAP water storers in the area to help maintain a "banked water account" for the Town for the future. If there are sellers, the Town may continue to purchase long-term storage credits from others in the future.
CENTRAL ARIZONA GROUNDWATER REPLENISHMENT DISTRICT
The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District exists to provide a mechanism for water providers to demonstrate an assured water supply under Assured Water Supply Rules (AWS Rules) which became effective in 1995. The CAGRD must replenish (or recharge) the amount of groundwater pumped by or delivered to its members which exceeds the pumping limitations imposed by the AWS Rules. The Town is a member of CAGRD, which ensures that any excess groundwater that is pumped by the Town will be replenished by the CAGRD.
Since the Town has recently assumed ownership of the Marana Wastewater Treatment Facility in north Marana, the near future goal is to recharge the treated water back into the aquifer (once a recharge facility is constructed), giving the Town additional groundwater storage credits to further offset groundwater pumping.
The Town is always searching for additional renewable supplies of water to prepare for growth. In 2013, the Town was successful in applying for a supply of Non-Indian Agriculture priority CAP water, which will add additional water resources to our portfolio. This water is expected to be allocated to the Town in 2017. There is a dedicated division of the department to plan, manage, and provide oversight of the Town's growing water resources. Finally, the Town will continue to effectively manage its water resources to the maximum benefit of its citizens and businesses, recognizing that our growth as a community is tied directly to a safe and reliable source of high-quality water.