Liberty Utilities Partnership with CAGRD

The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District has forged a partnership with Liberty Utilities to develop the first ever public-private reclaimed water recharge facility

The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) – Central Arizona Project’s groundwater replenishment authority – has forged a historic partnership with Liberty Utilities to develop the first-ever public-private reclaimed water recharge facility. This new facility, the Effluent Recharge Project, is expected to recharge at least 78 billion gallons of water into the Phoenix area’s West Valley Aquifer and will allow for the reuse of 2,400 to 5,000 acre-feet per year of A+ treated municipal effluent through groundwater recharge.

Using reclaimed water in place of potable water helps preserve our drinking water supplies for the future.  High quality reclaimed water is frequently used to meet non-potable needs such as irrigation and used to recharge aquifers throughout Arizona and the West. These safe, effective uses of reclaimed water are regulated by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. 

CAGRD is statutorily obligated to replenish excess groundwater withdrawn by its members in the Phoenix, Pinal and Tucson service areas. This new recharge facility will help CAGRD meet this replenishment obligation with a 100-year, renewable water supply.  The facility also helps mitigate the environmental impacts of groundwater pumping by replenishing water in the vicinity of water level declines due to pumping. Immediately north of the recharge project is an area known as the "Luke Sink" where water levels in the regional aquifer have declined over 200 feet as a result of groundwater withdrawals.

CAGRD is helping to fund the project in exchange for this water supply. Liberty is able to cost-effectively meet the needs of its customers by converting a cost (to dispose of the effluent) into an asset (the value of the effluent sold to CAGRD) in addition to contributing to the sustainability of the regional aquifer.  The Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates private utilities, unanimously approved the project at its March 5 meeting.

Liberty Utilities, which supplies customers in the West Valley with both water and sewer service used to pay to dispose of the effluent from their Palm Valley Water Reclamation Plant, which creates roughly 3.5 million gallons of high quality reclaimed water a day. Some of this water was sold for park and golf course irrigation. Now the remaining effluent will be recharged at the new project, providing a source of both revenue and aquifer restoration.

Source: Central Arizona Project

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