SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Despite some wet weather over the holidays, Arizona is still in a severe drought, and that's leading at least one Valley city to take action.
Scottsdale is asking residents to use five percent less water this year. It's part of Stage One of the city's drought management plan. It's not just the City of Scottsdale asking residents to do more; the city will also conserve water at city parks and facilities.
"We have never seen this level of cutbacks on the Colorado River," Scottsdale Water Executive Director Brian Biesemeyer said.
Biesemeyer says the city of Scottsdale gets its water from several different sources, not just the Colorado River. Still, losing 30% of this valuable water supply will have visible impacts. And the Colorado River Tier One Supply Shortage comes with immediate consequences.
"We want our residents and customers to know and understand that it's a significant issue," Biesemeyer said. "And that the more we address it now, the better we'll be prepared in the future."
At this time, Scottsdale residents and business owners won't be required to use any less water. But it's strongly encouraged as part of the first step of the city's drought management plan.
"We think asking customers to cut five percent is a very reasonable request of our customers," Biesemeyer said. "And something just to up their awareness."
Biesemeyer says some of the ways residents can cut back include adjusting irrigation timers, using water calculators to create a water budget, and converting grassy areas to more desert-friendly landscaping.
"You can have a nice lawn with low water use vegetation. It's not that all-rock look," Biesemeyer said. "We have rebate programs for removing turf, for putting in low-water-use plants."
Biesemeyer says similar water-saving measures would stay in place if Colorado River water levels remain close to where they are currently at. But if drought conditions steadily worsen, he says the city might need to implement mandatory water cutbacks at some point.
"We're hoping that we don't get there," Biesemeyer said. "We're hoping that folks will voluntarily cut back their consumption. We're looking to just up our game."
Here is a link to a water calculator residents can use to create a water budget, and here is one to Scottsdale's WaterSmart portal. Additionally, here's a link to more information on Scottsdale's rebate policies. Scottsdale residents can also adjust irrigation timers by texting WHENTOWATER to 33222. For those that don't live in Scottsdale and want to conserve water, Biesemeyer recommends the website wateruseitwisely.com.