Industry Shift to "One Water" Planning: Is it for Flagstaff?
"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.
All water on Earth is recycled and everyone is downstream of someone or something else. This unintentional, or de facto, reuse is more common than many people realize. Flagstaff is fortunate enough to be situated at the top of the Little Colorado River Watershed, and therefore not downstream of any communities but our own.
De facto reuse occurs within our own urban watershed, through recharge and subsequent recovery of water discharged to the Rio de Flag wash downstream of the Rio de Flag water Reclamation Plant. Additionally, stormwater runoff leads to the Rio de Flag, a percentage of which also recharges the aquifer. Down-gradient production wells in the C-aquifer capture this water and it is brought back in to the drinking water supply. This is regulated by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.