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City of Phoenix implements water conservation requirements for major water users

Phoenix Business Journal

The city of Phoenix has approved new water regulations for major water users, but it’s expected to have minimal impact on existing projects.

Phoenix City Council in March moved forward with new rules for facilities that will use more than 250,000 gallons per day with additional requirements for those expected to use more than 500,000 gallons per day.

“Passing our new large water user ordinance is another important milestone in our longstanding commitment to a comprehensive approach to protect our water resources,” said Mayor Kate Gallego in a statement. “This new policy will ensure we are balancing our economic development priorities with the critical need to secure our water supply for generations to come.

All major water users will have to provide a water conservation plan for approval while companies over the 500,000 gallon amount will also have to use recycled or conserved water for 30% of their water demand.

This benchmark was determined by the city based on conversations it had with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which is building a $40 billion chip manufacturing plant in the Valley, Phoenix staff said during the transportation subcommittee meeting in February.

The 30% can be lowered depending on the economic benefits the city receives in return and if the water received will support a “key industry” for the city’s growth, for example.

If the water users violate the new regulations by using more than what’s allowed, they could be fined 200% to 2,000% of the charges for water used depending on how many violations occur or whether it continues for more than a year.

Before the council’s vote, there were no additional requirements in place for large water users other than complying with city codes and ordinances, according to a city spokesperson.

The new regulations, however, will only impact a small group and not apply to existing users unless they plan to expand their water use to 250,000 gallons or more per day.

The city of Phoenix said that it has about 20 existing large water users, including resorts, hospitals, bottling plants and government entities, KJZZ reported. On average an Arizona household uses about 108,617 gallons in a year. A user that consumes 250,000 gallons a day uses the equivalent of about 840 households per year.

Last summer, the city of Scottsdale adopted a set of nine water-management principles, including one that says Scottsdale will develop policies requiring any general plan amendment or rezoning request for a water use above 100,000 gallons per day to report specific information.

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