By Scottsdale Mayor David D. Ortega

Dear Scottsdale Families,

For decades, Scottsdale Water broadcasted this message: Use Water Wisely. Recently, council took an extra step, offering cash incentives, so that residents who reduce water consumption can lower their water bill. We will continue to explore every way everyone can conserve and save money.

Conservation is key, as we balance living in the Sonoran Desert, protecting our water resources, and enhancement of our quality of life. The city of Scottsdale has invested billions of dollars in treatment facilities, and we are prepared for all future challenges.

Scottsdale has a robust water conservation program, which offers rebates, water efficiency workshops, free outdoor water efficiency checks, and access to WaterSmart – a user friendly website portal where customers can view and manage their individual water account. Learn more at

Scottsdale Water also hosts a Citizen Water Academy on a regular basis. The five-week course takes participants inside state-of-the-art facilities, demonstrates daily operations from lab functions to water main repair, and explains all facets of water operations, planning, and policies.

Last year, the residential grass conversion rebate was increased from $1 to $2 per square-foot for a maximum of $5,000. Residents, so far, have voluntarily removed more than 401,000 square feet of grass, which saves the city millions of gallons of water.

Scottsdale Water has a diverse water portfolio including from Salt River Project, Central Arizona Project (CAP), ground water, and a new source —recycled water. Since 2019, Scottsdale Water has operated ultrafiltration, ozone, reverse osmosis, and sanitizing ultraviolet rays at our water treatment facilities. Our facilities can purify up to 20-million gallons of reclaimed water per day. This ultra-pure water is injected, banked below ground in Scottsdale aquafers, for later use.

The northern two-thirds of Scottsdale relies on Central Arizona Project (CAP) water, which is extracted at the Water Campus. Over the last 24-years, the decline of the mighty Colorado River due to drought has been alarming. Triggered by drought, in 2021, Scottsdale and nine Valley cities tightened conservation and delivery limitations according to a mutual pact with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
In 2021, upon taking office, I was shocked to learn that for years, the city of Scottsdale lost nearly 68 million gallons per year of CAP water by selling bulk water to truckers who hauled it to dry-lot “wildcat” subdivisions in the county. For comparison, Scottsdale Water provides 65 million gallons per day to residents, businesses, hospitals, and schools. Scottsdale lost over one day of water to the unincorporated county. As mayor, I acted immediately to halt the loss of precious water.

Council took action to halt the sale of 68 million gallons of CAP water, wrongly exported to “wildcat” subdivisions in the county. We won a frivolous lawsuit, and admittedly, I took a lot of “heat” from outsiders. After months without access, outsiders eventually got the legislature to pass an interim solution, which excludes Scottsdale CAP water and ends in December 2025. I credit and thank colleagues for protecting Scottsdale residents.

Until next time, please hydrate!


David D. Ortega is a professional architect, 45 year resident of Scottsdale, and serves as the mayor of Scottsdale.