Why and how can we conserve water

Cave Creek and Carefree get most of their municipal water from the Colorado River through the Central Arizona Project (CAP) Canal. Nearly 90% of the Colorado River’s water comes from ice in the Rocky Mountains. But climate change/global warming is making the flow drop to the ‘new normal’. Major reservoirs on the Colorado River have already been drawn to about half their capacity.

Arizona will never run out of water. But big cuts in water use are starting to happen statewide. Farmers and developers in Pinal County are seeing a shortage of CAP water. They knew cuts might come. Returning to increasing groundwater use is a possible solution. But groundwater is “our money in the bank,” as was the goal when the CAP canal was built. These reserves need protection.

At this time, Cave Creek is using about from its allotment and the community is still growing. It is certain that the price of water will rise as demand increases and CAP allocations do not increase. Water is available in the open market. But at a much greater purchase price than our CAP water allotment. Anthem’s price-payers struggle with that.

Currently, about a third of our citizens use well water. Many residents on the west side of Cave Creek are forced to truck expensive water and thus make major water use adjustments. Unlike the rest of us, it’s not by choice. Most of the wells located in the main part of the city are in good condition. For now. While we may not have any legal requirement to connect more homes to municipal water, I still believe we are committed to serving all of our citizens when and how we can.
By far, the largest use of water in most homes is the outdoors. It is relatively easy to reduce this. Drip systems are among the most important users of water and the cost of their maintenance. Non-native herbs and plants require a lot of water. Consider dry skin. Landscaping with native plants that are drought tolerant (see photo)

If the pool is only used for part of the year when the water temperature allows, and the grandchildren are independent, consider how much you’ll save water and money by phasing out. How much does a “pool guy” cost you? The “Y” has a great pool with a lifeguard on duty, and the water temperature is controlled.
Reverse osmosis water treatment systems waste most of the water they use. Can you really tell the difference, especially in drinks and cooking? Low-flow toilets and low-flow shower heads are a minor inconvenience. Every little bit helps.

However, it is the outdoor irrigation system and the swimming pool that leave the greatest potential for water conservation. Take pride in the local plants. Instead of spending money on a home pool, the grandchildren can enjoy a larger inheritance to pay for college. In the long run, this definitely benefits them more than decreasing the number of days around the pool.

Thomas McGuire
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