Reclaimed water is an important and growing part of our water supply. Because it is highly treated wastewater, its use has special requirements. There are several things to be aware of as you consider whether to convert your outdoor irrigation to reclaimed water. The information below is provided to assist you in deciding whether using reclaimed water is right for you.
Proximity to the Reclaimed Water System: Unlike the drinking water system, reclaimed water is not available in all parts of the Tucson Water Service Area. Check the map to determine whether your property is within 1⁄8 mile of an existing reclaimed water main. If your property is located within this corridor, it may be cost-effective for you to obtain reclaimed water service. For assistance in determining the cost of extending a reclaimed water main, contact New Services at 791-5164. Please note: it is the City's policy that the customer pays for all extensions of the reclaimed water system.
Conservation Ethic: Using reclaimed water is a good way to save our high quality water supplies for drinking. Wastewater is the only water supply that will grow as the population of the region increases. Today about ten percent of Tucson Water's total deliveries are reclaimed water. Our goal is to continue to add more customers to the reclaimed water system.
Irrigation System Upgrades: In order to use reclaimed water for irrigation, your irrigation system must be completely separate from the drinking water system. It must be designed so that there is no ponding of reclaimed water and reclaimed water does not overspray onto eating areas, sidewalks, or neighboring properties. All new irrigation pipe must be purple. We also provide more information on irrigation system requirements.
Backflow Prevention Assembly and Thermal Expansion Control Device: The Plumbing Code requires a backflow prevention assembly be installed on the potable water service to protect the drinking water supply in the event there is ever a cross connection between the reclaimed and drinking water systems. The installation of a backflow prevention assembly may necessitate the installation of a thermal control device. Both are the responsibility of the homeowner. We also provide more information on thermal expansion.
Permit: A permit is required to install the backflow prevention assembly. This permit is $87.00. The backflow prevention assembly must be inspected annually by a certified tester.
Price of Reclaimed Water: Reclaimed water costs less than Tucson Water charges for potable water. For more information, see our Current Water Rate Schedules page.
Reclaimed Water Meter: In addition to the initial purchase price of the reclaimed water meter, which varies based upon meter size, you will also have a monthly service charge on the meter. The size of the meter determines the monthly service charge. Most single family homes have one ¾ inch meter.
Sign: A sign must be posted at the entry to every site where reclaimed water is in use. The sign for residential properties is small (9 in. x 12 in.) with an attractive design.
Pressure: Reclaimed water pressure may be different from the potable water pressure you currently have. It is the responsibility of the property owner to raise or lower the pressure, as necessary.
Economics: Some people find the savings from converting to reclaimed water will pay for the improvements required to use this water in a fairly short period of time. Others, who use a minimum amount of water for outdoor irrigation, may find the payback period too long to make a conversion feasible.