If you're a resident of Tucson or anywhere in the South West, you know that water has always been a primary concern. Our area is drought-prone and relies heavily on the water from the Colorado River. Fortunately for Tucson, we are developing new ways of conserving water to improve sustainability.
Water that’s already been used but has gone through a treatment plan can then be used again. The use of reclaimed water is essential to society, but even more so in desert communities like Tucson. Water resources are finite, but we can maximize the water available through treatment.
Tucson is now the nation's leader in reclaimed water use. In fact, water use scientists and professionals have traveled to our city to learn about our reclaimed water program so that it can be replicated around the world.
Reclaimed Water for Wildlife
Tucson’s reclaimed water program isn’t limited to supplying water to our city. Tucson Water is using reclaimed water technology to help bring back native habitats that have been lost to development and drought. For example, Sweetwater Wetlands acts as both a reservoir and a natural bird environment. During the winter, when there is less water demand, the ground is pumped with reclaimed water, which then gets utilized during the summer.
Reclaimed water has also been used to bring the Santa Cruz River back to life. As a result, the river now represents a similar habitat to what it was when Native Americans originally settled the area. Today, the riverbed contains plants, trees, birds, and butterflies.
Reclaimed Water is Safe
Tucson’s reclaimed water is Grade A. While reclaimed water isn’t used for drinking, it’s perfectly safe to irrigate the natural environment. Fish can swim in it, animals can drink it, and it’s safe for humans to wade in.
Using reclaimed water is just one of the many ways Tucson is developing a sustainable water plan. As a desert city, it’s our responsibility to use water responsibly and consider sustainability daily.