By Christopher Brooks, CAP Senior Water Resources Analyst
Liberty Utilities and Central Arizona Project were presented with the award for Project of the Year at the WateReuse Association Annual Symposium in Phoenix on Sept. 12, 2017.
WateReuse is internationally-recognized as a thought-leader on alternative water supply development. It is the go-to organization for policy guidance and educational tools on water reuse as well as the principal influencer of public opinion, lawmakers and policymakers on policy and projects related to water reuse.
Liberty Utilities and CAP have built the state's first public-private reclaimed-water recharge facility, the Liberty Aquifer Replenishment Facility (LARF) in Goodyear, which commenced operation in early 2017. The ground-breaking partnership provides significant benefit to both organizations; CAP gets an affordable 100-year water supply for the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) and Liberty Utilities gets a cost-effective way to manage their effluent in a sustainable manner that provides multiple benefits to their customers.
The CAGRD is the groundwater replenishment authority of CAP and state law requires that it replenish excess groundwater withdrawn by its members in Active Management Areas (AMAs) with renewable water supplies. The LARF is designed to recharge up to 6,000 acre-feet (AF) per year, and 2,400 AF annually will be leased to CAGRD through the year 2116 to help meet that obligation. The remaining water stored at LARF will belong to Liberty.
Reclaimed water is the most reliable, locally-generated supply for aquifer replenishment. The water being recharged at the LARF is from the Liberty Utilities’ Palm Valley Water Reclamation Facility, which produces 5.1 million gallons of high-quality reclaimed water each day. Some of that water is then sold for irrigation use in parks and golf courses; the surplus water will be delivered to the recharge facility via dedicated pipes that are not attached to any potable water lines.
WateReuse chose to recognize this project for demonstrating “extraordinary leadership in advancing sustainable, locally controlled water supplies.” LARF is the culmination of over 4 years of planning between CAGRD and Liberty to develop a water supply partnership that recognizes the duty Liberty has to its 37,000 water and wastewater customers in the West Valley and the responsibility CAGRD has to provide cost-effective and hydrologically sound groundwater replenishment on behalf of many of those same West Valley homeowners.
CAP Board President Lisa Atkins recognizes the importance of this partnership, saying “The partnership allows public and private industry to work together for the good of Arizona. Providing long-term water sustainability to the region, the project replenishes water within the area of impact, maintains water levels, reduces pumping costs and is just good fiscal management.”