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Water Resources Management
The City of Flagstaff Utilities Division is responsible for the planning and operation of the City's water, wastewater and reclaimed water systems. The Division is in the process of developing comprehensive master plans for water resources, water infrastructure, wastewater, and water reuse to provide for orderly growth of its systems.

Prudent management of existing water supplies and planning for the future are essential to maintaining economic vitality and a sustainable community.

Presentation at the Arizona Hydrological Society (September 18, 2015)
Erin Young, Water Resources Manager, gave a presentation at the annual AHS meeting in Phoenix, Arizona on the status of the Red Gap Ranch Leupp Groundwater Flow Modeling work that is being conducted by Southwest Ground-water Consultants. This is a joint effort between the Navajo Nation and the City of Flagstaff to simulate whether the pumping of groundwater by Flagstaff at Red Gap Ranch and by Navajo at Leupp may effect streamflow in areas of Chevelon Creek and Clear Creek that support endangered species. The modeling work is funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation through a $300,000 grant from the Rural Water Supply Program. The final report from this study will be made available to the public when it is published in November or December, 2015.
Reclaimed Water presentation
(February 6, 2014)

Utilities Director Brad Hill, R.G., gave a presentation on “Water Reuse – where we have been and where we are going (Nationally, State & Flagstaff)” in February, 2014.  The presentation was sponsored by the Friends of the Rio de Flag & Friends of Flagstaff’s Future (click here to view the presentation). 

The City of Flagstaff is one of the state’s leaders in treatment and use of reclaimed water.  The City recycles over 700 million gallons of water each year for conservation purposes.  Recycling means wastewater that is sent from our homes or business to a treatment plant where it is highly treated to meet state and federal reclaimed water quality standards. Once treated, the water is termed “reclaimed water, recycled water, water reuse or effluent” and enters a separate distribution system after being chlorinated.  The City has been recycling water for over 20 years and currently approximately 20% of our community’s total water use is from direct delivered reclaimed water for irrigation, commercial and other uses.  Additionally, the Rio de Flag plays an important role in recharging our underground aquifers from the remaining unused reclaimed water being discharged into the normally dry river and infiltrating underground or sustaining valuable riparian habitat.

The presentation covered the history and importance of reclaimed water on a national basis and within Flagstaff, how that supply is used in Flagstaff, how it contributes to our successful water conservation efforts and how that supply provides resiliency in the face of future climate change.  Additionally, the presentation then discussed the future of reclaimed water both nationally and in Flagstaff by discussing upcoming hot topics such as unregulated Compounds of Emerging Concern and how the utility industry is developing treatment technologies to remove them.

City of Flagstaff Designation of Adequate Water Supply

On January 28, 2014, Erin Young gave a presentation to the Northern Arizona University School of Earth Sciences & Environmental Sustainability seminar series.  The talk was titled Growth and Water Supplies: City of Flagstaff Designation of Adequate Water Supply.  In April of 2013, the City of Flagstaff received a Designation of Adequate Water Supply from the Arizona Department of Water Resources.  The designation defines the sources of legally and physically available water to the City for at least 100 years. The physical supply had to be proven with a groundwater flow model of the region. The focus of the presentation is on the physical availability determination, including the model that was used to prove the water supplies and the growth scenarios modeled and model results. Click here to view the power point presentation.

Water Resources presentation (October 3, 2013)
Water Resources Manager Erin Young, R.G.  gave a presentation on Our Water Future, Water Resources Chapter of Utilities Integrated Master Plan in October, 2013.  The presentation was sponsored by Friends of the Rio de Flag & Friends of Flagstaff’s Future.  (click here to view the presentation).  The master planning effort estimates the City will have to provide an additional 12,000 acre/feet of potable water to meet the future needs of its citizens as Flagstaff grows over the next 80 – 100 years. This is above and beyond the ~10,500 AF/year the City already deliveries to meet our community’s needs. Questions such as where will that water come from, how will it get here, how resilient is the City’s water resources to prolonged drought, what are projections of population growth and how are our future water needs determined are continually being asked within the community. The master planning effort also conducted an economic analysis to help evaluate the comparative costs of the future water supply alternatives identified.  To help answer these questions and many more, the Utilities Division completed a draft Water Resources Master Plan in April 2011.