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Phoenix City Council maintains Tier 1 water alert amid drought projections

photo of water conservation efforts at Phoenix City Council
The drip irrigation system, which is a staple home, commercial and municipal watering technique, uses the least amount of water needed in arid environment. (Photo: Arianna Grainey/

Despite wet winter Phoenix City Council holds fast to Tier 1 alert

Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Phoenix City Council is keeping the tenets of protocols surrounding a Stage 1 Water Alert despite a United States Bureau of Reclamation announcement earlier this month to return to Tier 1 Shortage protocols on the Colorado River in 2024 as a result of a wet winter.

In its formal announcement, United States Bureau of Reclamation officials reported elevated water levels at Lakes Powell and Mead.

Officials at Phoenix City Hall say while this favorable winter provides temporary relief to the Colorado River System; Phoenix, which receives 40% of its water from the river, is asking residents to continue conserving water due to the unpredictability of the river and prolonged drought.

Under the municipal drought management plan, a Stage 1 Water Alert is declared when an insufficient supply of water appears likely due to water system or supply limitations, triggering an intensive public education and information program. Those outreach efforts will continue as Phoenix City Hall officials continue to strategically make plans for future uncertainties on the Colorado River.

“We must continue working together as a community to conserve and sustain our water supply,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said in a prepared statement.

“At the city, we will keep working on substantive, sustainable development policies and investing in long-term plans, including the creation of our regional Advanced Water Purification system. While large-scale investments and policies are important, Phoenix residents can play a critical role by monitoring their water usage and saving as much as possible.”

Since the declaration of the Stage 1 Water Alert on June 1, 2022, at the direction of Phoenix City Council the municipality has demonstrated its commitment to regional water conservation efforts by taking various actions, officials there say.

Earlier this summer, Phoenix City Council approved an agreement with Reclamation, the Arizona Department of Water Resources, and Central Arizona Project to voluntarily forgo up to 50,000 acre-feet of its Colorado River entitlement each year from 2023 to 2025 in return for compensation to support water resource portfolio augmentation and conservation programs.

“We must all do our part to ensure that the Colorado River remains healthy and provides the water necessary for communities,” said Cynthia Campbell, Phoenix water resources management advisor. “As a city, we are committed to conservation and doing our part to protect water security.”

A view of Phoenix City Hall. (File Photos/
Despite wet winter Phoenix City Council holds fast to Tier 1 alert

Phoenix City Council has also approved an authorization to enter a memorandum of understanding with local municipal water providers to support a regional advanced water purification facility study and approved sustainable development water policies to allow future, responsible development.

Additionally, the Phoenix Water Services Department is expected to publish conservation programs for commercial and residential properties, including toilet and turf replacement incentives.

“We ask Phoenix Water customers to continue embracing conservation efforts as the utility proactively responds to climate changes,” said Phoenix Water Director Troy Hayes. “In the future, we anticipate more seasonal fluctuations, requiring us to adapt to prolonged wet or dry periods. Our goal remains the same, to produce clean, safe, reliable water to our customers.”

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