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Water Resources Management

Planning is key to ensuring that Flagstaff’s water supplies sustain us into the future.

A reliable water supply is essential to maintaining our community’s economic vitality and overall sustainability. The Utilities Division is tasked with ensuring that Flagstaff has adequate water supplies, now and into the future. So, just what are we doing to manage our water wisely and achieve this goal?

  • First and foremost, we have developed a Utilities Integrated Master Plan, which covers water resources; water, wastewater, and reclaimed water infrastructure, as well as water policy. This plan serves as the guiding document for managing Flagstaff’s water supplies. Learn more about our water resource planning efforts and our approach to water policy.
  • We also conducted a major water sustainability study. This study used available hydrological and geological data for the Flagstaff area to develop a digital model of the groundwater flow system. This model was used to predict water availability and the impacts of withdrawal under various usage scenarios over the next 100 years, allowing us to update our Designation of Adequate Water Supply. It will serve as an important management tool going forward. Learn more about this study.
  • We worked with the Navajo Nation on a groundwater flow modeling study to simulate the effects of pumping at Red Gap Ranch (by the City) and Leupp (by the Navajo Nation) on streamflow in areas of the Little Colorado River, Chevelon Creek, and Clear Creek that support important riparian habitat and recreation. We also looked that the impacts to endangered species in the headwaters of these streams. This project, which expanded the previously developed water sustainability model, was funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation through a $300,000 grant from the Rural Water Supply Program.
  • We have supported several resource monitoring projects. These projects allow us to track conditions in the C-aquifer, which provides most of our water, and the Lake Mary watershed over time and assess the degree to which pumping, drought, and other factors affect our water supplies. Learn more about monitoring in the Flagstaff area.
  • We made — and continue to make — important regulatory changes. Flagstaff has updated its Adequate Water Supply (AWS) Designation to assure the community that water supplies will be available for the next 100 years. Learn more about this Designation.
  • Recognizing the importance of adding capacity “in-city,” we recently initiated a well siting study and gained City Council approval to drill five new wells over the next 10 years.

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