Water & Wildfires
Objective 3: Protect Water System from Wildfire Threat
- Uninterrupted water, wastewater, and reclaimed water services
- Water supply and system resilient to the effects of climate change
- Provide safe, secure, and reliable service during normal and emergency conditions
The majority of Flagstaff’s water supplies are located outside of town and in the forest. These supplies are extremely susceptible to the effects of wildfire. Climate change models indicate that the frequency of fires will increase due to higher temperatures and the lengthening of summer-like weather. This may include a higher frequency and/or severity of lightning storms, which also increases the risk of fire.
Wildfires are an imminent threat to water service reliability because of the potential impact on critical water assets, including electricity to pump water, system communications, and the quality of water in Upper Lake Mary (due to silty runoff from fire ravaged areas). Loss of Upper Lake Mary as a water resource due to water quality problems would increase energy costs (pumping of additional water from aquifers).
Wildfires should be viewed as an immediate and increasing threat caused by climate change. The responses outlined in this Strategic Objective should be a high priority for the Division.
Water Services Strategic Plan 2025
Objective 3: Protect the Water
System from Wildfire Threat
January - June 2021
Reporting Period: July-
Champion & TEAM
Support the funding of forest maintenance
Operations Manager, Water Production Manager, Flagstaff Fire
Water Production worked with the Forest Service to provide pipeline crossing mitigations so that a thinning project along the urban interface, just south of the Lake Mary Water Treatment Plant, could proceed without endangering Flagstaff's potable water supply.
Water Production covered all costs associated with locating, surveying, geotechnical work (borings) and design with the Fire Department planning on covering costs of implementation.
Wildland Fire initiative provided a sterady revenue stream to this program.
All high voltage powerlines and equipment will be inspected every 5 years for vegetation requiring mitigation.
Increase radio redundancy and protecting radio towers to improve communication
Design Work on Lake Mary and PW radio towers
Completed Public Works radio Tower, completing design on Lake Mary wellfield tower.
Building the Lake Mary tower.
Reduce communication risks by developing local control of water assets, including
Working on separating SCADA OT from common-use SCADA IT system.
Continued separating SCADA OT
from City IT. Using poice network as a pilot program
Assess reliability and rehabilitate (as needed) assets for transferring water to fight fires
Spring water from the Inner Basin was used to fill the west reservoir at the North Reservoir Filtration Plant for fire fighting purposes (helicopter drops) should the need arise.
Back up generators placed in service for emergency water supply
Purchase land for sedimentation ponds to protect Lake Mary WTP water quality and design these ponds (Contingent on Lake Mary yield predictions given climate
Waiting on Forest Service action.
Waiting on Forest Service action.
Continue developing increased back-up power capabilities
Submitting backup generators for Rio de Flag WRP in bond and FEMA grant requests.
All generators will be maintained and tested quarterly/annually by Empire/CAT. Shore power will also ensure the generators are always charged, warm and ready for use regardless of time of year and weather.
Integrate increasing risks from wildfires into stormwater planning, including data collection, advanced hydrologic/ hydraulic modeling and flood warning system.
Rain gauge hydrology report completed with ten year history
Continued partnership between Stormwater and Wildland Fire (FWPP). Developing a new impervious surface layer based on better, more accurate data.
|Water Services Strategic Plan 2025||2020 Accomplishments|
|Objective 3: Protect the Water System from Wildfire Threat||Reporting Period: January-June 2020||Reporting Period: |
|Specific Responses||Champion & TEAM||Accomplishments||Accomplishments||Next Steps|
|Support the funding of forest maintenance||Operations Manager,Water Production Manager, Flagstaff Fire||All City of Flagstaff owned high voltage powerlines and electrical equipment in the Woody Mtn. Wellfield were cleared of vegetation (149 trees pruned, 10 trees removed); both increasing water production system resiliency and decreasing wildfire threat.||The Woody Mtn. Booster Station was cleared of encroaching vegetation and hazard trees threatening infrastructure; both increasing water production system resiliency and decreasing wildfire threat.||All high voltage powerlines and equipment will be inspected every 5 years for vegetation requiring mitigation.|
|Increase radio redundancy and protecting radio towers to improve communication reliability|
|Reduce communication risks by developing local control of water assets, including treatment plants|
|Assess reliability and rehabilitate (as needed) assets for transferring water to fight fires|
|Purchase land for sedimentation ponds to protect Lake Mary WTP water quality and design these ponds (Contingent on Lake Mary yield predictions given climate change)|
|Continue developing increased back-up power capabilities||Two additional back up generators were purchased and another manual transfer switch (for connecting the generators) was installed at the Lake Mary Water Treatment Plant.||All critical water production locations and associated transfer switches & connections were tested. Additionally shore power (for block heaters and battery chargers) was installed on all 5 portable diesel-powered back-up generators. All generators were added to maintenance management program with local Empire/CAT for routine inspection, maintenance, testing, etc.||All generators will be maintained and tested quarterly/annually by Empire/CAT. Shore power will also ensure the generators are always charged, warm and ready for use regardless of time of year and weather.|