By Bridget Binsbacher,
Peoria Councilmember, Mesquite District
As the New Year starts, and we begin putting together our ideas and plans for 2021, one of the items I am pleased the city will be looking at is updating our Sustainability Action Plan. I am proud of the work accomplished in the first 10 years of the plan, but I am especially looking forward to establishing new goals and developing meaningful measurements to further Peoria’s sustainability mission.
Although the plan includes goals in many areas of service delivery, the water resources goals are very important to me. Representing a district that has experienced significant growth and development, I recognize how important our water resources are to residents. The city has done an excellent job of planning for future needs.
Peoria continues to thrive in our desert environment, but we are always mindful of our water resources, especially as we grow. One of the key sources of water that enables the city to maintain a strong water portfolio is the processing and production of reclaimed water, which currently makes up about 15% off our 100-year assured supply. Reclaimed water is also Peoria’s most climate resilient water supply. As such, Peoria’s goal is to use its reclaimed water efficiently and to its highest and best use throughout the city.
Reclaimed or recycled water (also called wastewater reuse or water reclamation) is wastewater that has been converted through a treatment process into water that can be reused for other purposes. In Peoria, it’s currently reused to irrigate parks, greenbelt areas and it even supplies the water for the lake at Pioneer Park. Additional uses currently include irrigation of agricultural fields and replenishing surface water and groundwater (i.e., groundwater recharge).
This spring, the city council will be discussing additional methods of strategic delivery of reclaimed water for Peoria’s future growth. This may include locating our reclaimed water resources in areas of the city that will allow for delivery to high-use turf facilities, groundwater recharge opportunities and eventually direct potable reuse.
It’s important for all us to remember, Peoria has enough water to use, but never enough to waste. We encourage conservation and wise water use to ensure that we have enough water, so that our desired quality of life and community growth goals can both be achieved.