Water Resources Management


Planning Is Key to Ensuring That Flagstaff's Water Supplies Sustain Us into the Future

A reliable water supply is essential to maintaining our community's economic vitality and overall sustainability. The Water Services Division is tasked with ensuring that Flagstaff has adequate water supplies, now and into the future. So, just what are we doing to manage our water wisely and achieve this goal?

  • First and foremost, we have developed a Water Services Integrated Master Plan, which covers water resources; water, wastewater, and reclaimed water infrastructure, as well as water policy. This plan serves as the guiding document for managing Flagstaff's water supplies. Learn more about our water resource planning efforts, our approach to water policy, and our water development history.
  • We have made - and continue to make - important regulatory framework changes. Flagstaff has updated its Adequate Water Supply Designation to assure the community that water supplies will be available for the next 100 years.
  • We also conducted a major water sustainability study. This study used available hydrological and geological data for the Flagstaff area to develop a digital model of the groundwater flow system. This model was used to predict water availability and the impacts of withdrawal under various usage scenarios over the next 100 years, allowing us to update our Designation of Adequate Water Supply. It will serve as an important management tool going forward. Learn more about our current water use and supply as well as our population projections and future water needs.
  • We have supported several resource monitoring projects. These projects allow us to track conditions in the C-aquifer, which provides most of our water, and the Lake Mary watershed over time and assess the degree to which pumping, drought, and other factors affect our water supplies.
  • Recognizing the importance of adding capacity "in-city," we recently initiated a well siting study and gained City Council approval to drill five new wells over the next 10 years. Learn more about our future water supply options.
    • Completed in February 2021, Ft. Tuthill #2 well was the first well drilled since 2009. New wells add resiliency to our water supply portfolio, buffering against climate change or infrastructure failure. Learn more about Ft. Tuthill Well #2 through this interactive story map, and by watching the video below.


Industry Shift to "One Water" Planning: Is it for Flagstaff?

OneWater Municipal Flow Diagram

Source: Water Research Foundation

"Increasingly, water utilities and municipalities are being challenged to consider the multifaceted nature of water in their communities. Several drivers, such as climate change, catastrophic weather events, water shortages or droughts, degradation of water quality, changing regulations, and aging infrastructure, are causing utilities to manage water in new ways." - Blueprint for One Water

Flagstaff is faced with many of the same challenges as other cities. A "One Water" framework is being explored by staff as a foundation for assessing and planning for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

OneWater Feedback Loop Diagram

Source: Water Research Foundation

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