Water Use and Existing Water Supplies
Water Production Trends
The graph below displays Flagstaff's water production and population trends from 1950 to 2016. Total water production in Flagstaff has decreased significantly since 1990 while population has steadily increased. Reclaimed water was introduced in the 1990's and offset potable water production.
Water Use Trends
In the last 10 years, Flagstaff's residential and non-residential water use, reclaimed water use, and the city's non-revenue real-and-apparent losses have been declining. The Water Conservation Program is assessing "how low" Flagstaff could go with water use.
2016 Water Accounting Summary
How much water is used in Flagstaff?
The chart below displays all water usage including all drinking water produced for use indoors and outdoors, at single-family and multi-family homes, at commercial sites, by manufacturers, at Northern Arizona University, and by standpipe customers. Not all water produced generates revenue; a portion falls into the "non-revenue" category, which includes real losses such as system leaks and system flushing, as well as apparent losses, such as billing discrepancies or metering malfunctions. Reclaimed water comprised nearly 20% of Flagstaff's 2016 water portfolio.
Water Cycle and Sustainability
The graphic below depicts the added benefits that reusing wastewater and stormwater have on potable water consumption, infiltration to the aquifer, and runoff to the environment. Sustainable urban water cycles incorporate aspects of the natural water cycle and reuse into a conventional urban water cycle. These, and other considerations, will be evaluated in the next Water Resources Master Plan.
Source: Water, Sanitation, and Urbanization; Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management Toolbox; http://www.sswm.info/node/7722
How much of our water is recycled?
The majority of large outdoor water users are provided reclaimed water in the summer months. These include golf courses and the majority of Flagstaff schools and municipal parks.
With little need for reclaimed water in the winter months, the majority of recycled water is discharged to the Rio de Flag wash. Only a small portion stays within the city's urban watershed.
Other Reuse Options
While reclaimed water makes up 1/5 of Flagstaff's total water delivered, there is potential to reuse a lot more, and to keep a larger percentage within Flagstaff's urban watershed. Options include:
- Add infrastructure to more outdoor users and promote indoor plumbing to toilets
- Promote recharge to aquifer within Flagstaff's urban watershed through surface water infiltration along the Rio de Flag wash or injection wells above the aquifer
- Pipe reclaimed water for surface water blending with Upper Lake Mary water
- Drinking water? Arizona will have new regulations in place in 2018 to allow Direct Potable Reuse of reclaimed water