Scottsdale Water – the city’s municipal water and sewer utility – has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to support the city’s long-term water supply sustainability program. The highly competitive WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant provides funding for projects that “result in quantifiable and sustained water savings, increase the production of hydropower or support broader water reliability benefits.”

Scottsdale Water was awarded the grant to support construction of its Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Well Field Project, which will enable the city to recharge a portion of its Colorado River surface water allocation received through the Central Arizona Project (CAP) into aquifers within the city’s service area.

The overall ASR well field project includes the construction of four separate ASR wells over the next four years. The 2021 WaterSMART grant will help fund construction of ASR Well 161, located near the Scottsdale Sports Complex, which will produce approximately 3,200 to 4,000 acre feet per year (AFY), and have an estimated recharge capacity of 2,400 to 3,000 AFY directly within the city’s service area. (One acre foot meets the needs of approximately two families of four for one year).

“Scottsdale Water has a long history of acting strategically to improve the sustainability of our water resources,” says Scottsdale Water Executive Director Brian K. Biesemeyer, PE. “This substantial WaterSMART grant is recognition of the importance of groundwater protection and our commitment to renewable water resources as we seek to ensure Scottsdale’s long-term water supply sustainability.”

Scottsdale has been committed to substantial groundwater recharge efforts since the 1980s and has recharged over 75 billion gallons of water in Arizona aquifers over the past 25 years. Due to limited recharge facilities in Scottsdale, some of that recharge has been done outside the city’s service area so the city receives long-term water credits (similar to a bank account for water).

The new ASR well fields, however, will allow Scottsdale to store the water directly underground within our service area. This will give the city greater flexibility in retrieving the water for use in emergency situations or times of prolonged drought. The increased recharge will have the added-value benefits of improving long-term aquifer health and minimizing the potential for ground subsidence.

“This grant award is a testament to the hard work put in every day by our Scottsdale Water professionals and to the foresight of our city leadership to invest in infrastructure that puts Scottsdale at the forefront of water utility technology,” adds Biesemeyer. “This effort and this grant epitomize our commitment to the Scottsdale Water vision: Water sustainability through stewardship, innovation and people.”