North Phoenix neighborhood says the city is wasting water

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PHOENIX -- Some North Phoenix homeowners say the city is wasting a precious resource and they want something done about it.

So, they contacted 3 On Your Side.

When you say North Phoenix, this is "really" North Phoenix. In fact, it's up near New River and the precious resource we're talking about is good ol' water.

Rick Lynch likes his North Phoenix neighborhood.

"It's enjoyable out here," he said. "We have a lot of wildlife that lives out here -- donkeys, deer, coyotes, rabbits, all kinds of birds. It's a great neighborhood."

But he says living so far north does come with a price and that price is thousands and thousands of gallons of city water that is drained out of a fire hydrant on a regular basis.

Lynch says the Phoenix Water Department has been coming out once a week for as long as he can remember and for 30 minutes each time they just open up the valve and let the water flow.

"I said, 'How many gallons is that?" Lynch said. "He said, 'Six thousand gallons.' Well, when I figure that out at fifty weeks, if they take two weeks off for vacation, that's like 300,000 gallons of water a year."

Lynch says he's concerned that it's not only a waste of water, but also a harm to the environment and he's not the only one. Neighbors say the same thing.

"I'm upset to just see it going down the drain," Clem Kleba said.

"We're wasting water in a drought area and I just think there has got to be a better way to deal with clearing these lines," Lynch said. "Somebody has to analyze the situation and try to do something better."

3 On Your Side checked into the issue and spoke with Kenneth Morgan, who is with the city's Water Distribution Department.

"In certain portions of the system where we're not moving enough water, as a result of the customers' use, we tend to assist the movement of water by opening a hydrant and allowing the water to be flushed out for a period of time," Morgan said.

Morgan said Lynch's neighborhood is near the end of the city's water line and tends to lose some of the quality they like to maintain.

Flushing the system, he says, is the only way to keep the water up to their standards.

"It's a cost-effective measure to maintain the quality of our system," Morgan said.

But it seems so wasteful, right? All that water just going down the drain.

Morgan says actually, the water is not being wasted.

While a small portion of it sinks into the ground or is consumed by wildlife, most of it travels through a pipe and is recycled for other city uses.

"Some of the primary clients of the reclaimed water are golf courses, greenways, in and around the entrance ways to facilities, along the highway as well as some industrial uses," Morgan said.

As for Lynch, he remains a little skeptical and somewhat frustrated with all this water mess.

"If I drain a pool into the street, I'm going to get fined, so I think it's a double standard," he said. The water coming out of that hydrant is right around a half million gallons a year, but again, it's all being reused so it's not wasted.

As for the watery mess in the street, the city tells me they will look at a better way to drain the system, like possibly running a hose. That way it won't be messy.