Groundwater Recovery

Tucson Water delivers a blend of recharged Colorado River water and groundwater from its Colorado River recharge facilities and recovery fields, collectively known as Clearwater. These groundwater recharge facilities provide a blend that is more than 50% recharge river water and natural groundwater. We currently recharge more water than we pump, which is firming our supplies for the future.

Although we are recharging Colorado River water, a renewable source, all the water delivered to customers is pumped from the aquifer. If there is an interruption to deliveries from the CAP canal, natural or otherwise, we have a vast supply stored underground in the same places we pump from now. Even the annual planned shutdown of the CAP canal for maintenance does not affect our delivery to customers.

Central Wellfield Map

Using this excess supply has allowed us to put the Central wellfield into a reserve status. This is the last field turned on and the first turned off during high demand or for backup, such as an interruption to the Clearwater delivery system. As a result, over the last 12 years water levels in the Central field have recovered more than 50 feet in some areas due to natural recharge. Wells are serviced, tested, and pumped on a regular basis to ensure a reliable and safe backup supply.

Historic Central Wellfield Groundwater Decline (1950-2000) and Current Central Wellfield Groundwater Recovery (2000-2012)

Although we are recharging Colorado River water, a renewable source, all the water delivered to our customers is pumped from the aquifer. If we have an interruption to the deliveries from the CAP canal, natural or otherwise, we have a vast supply stored underground in the same places we draw from now. Even the annual planned shutdown of the CAP canal for maintenance does not in any way affect our delivery to our customers.