If you're a resident of Buckeye (or Arizona for that matter), you already know that water is a valuable commodity. Despite a growing population amidst a 23-year drought, how is the everyday life for those who live in Buckeye being managed with a lack of water?
Find out more about how local residents have learned a way to cope with water in buckeye and why it seems old-fashion, but practical.
Buckeye, Arizona; more Boom than Bust
Twenty years ago, Buckeye was predominately a farming community located 37 miles from Phoenix with less than 6,500 residents.
Today, the total population is around 111,000 and growing, according to Major Eric Orsborn. It also features more than 640 square miles that are currently reserved for housing developments to the north, west, and south. In hindsight, Phoenix has 518 square miles, making Buckeye one of the fastest-growing cities.
Yet, for all of the expansion and growth, the question remains unanswered as to where future water will come from. Luckily for residents who live in Buckeye, an age-old solution has helped them get through tough times using practical solutions.
Residential water recycling
Local residents who are used to the drought and have underground water tanks are using a camping approach to everyday duties. Water that is used for basic duties like washing vegetables or dishes is essentially reused. This water is saved and then repurposed for flushing toilets. It's an approach that reflects the days of the old West when running water was reused for nearly everything if water was scarce.
It’s further reported that prepared residents are using no more than 20 gallons of water each day. The national US average is no more than 300 gallons per day, which shows that excessive water usage can be reduced if proper recycling steps are managed correctly. For new residents moving into Buckeye, this water conservation information is all but a trickle in a region that is already starved for water.
Climate Change is Blamed on the Drought…
Arizona has a rainy season that naturally occurs from June through September and is essentially a Monsoon season. Political activists would like to blame everything from auto emissions to excessive cow emissions on climate change. But history prevails on the matter and there is no proof that the weather in Arizona is being hindered by changes in the climate. According to an official study of the weather and rainfall in Tuscon, very little has changed from 1895-2012.
If anything, average yearly monsoon rainfall levels are now on an upswing that cycle every 100 years. The same can be said for the Colorado River water supplies which have a consistent amount of water that cycle every 60 years. From 1928 to 1988 these are when peak levels were achieved. By this natural cycle, the next peak level will occur in 2048, which is only 25 years from now. The levels on the river are now steadily rising from year to year.
Climate change may not be to blame here, but the population increase for those moving to Arizona is rising at uncontrolled levels. And with a rising population, this naturally causes an increase in water consumption. From 1910 to 2020, this chart shows how water consumption has increased steadily in the last 90 years.
Water & New Developments in AZ
In the 1980s, Arizona passed a special law that introduced the Groundwater Management Act that included a lesser-known loophole that enabled developers. If a building developer has a property with fewer than 6 lots, there is no legal rule that says you have to have water supplied to that property. A similar act was further passed for Pinal County which is not much of a distance from Buckeye.
What this does do is creates a supply and demand situation for those living in new housing developments to rely on privately controlled water distribution. For those who aren’t “Individualists”, those who are digging their own wells or installing underground water tanks aren’t affected. But those who have no idea what they’re getting into will be offered a water supply in Buckeye that is privately supplied at unregulated price levels.
Buckeye Community & Developments
AZ Junk Removal is dedicated to supporting Buckeye's recycling efforts and keeping things looking tidy with fast deployment of dumpsters for cleaning up communities or even residential properties as well as done-for-you junk removal services. For more on our services visit our Buckeye clean-up page here.
Viable Water solutions in Phoenix, AZ
One excellent example of water recycling in Buckeye is the Sundance Water Reclamation Facility that’s been operational since 2009. Keep in mind that Sundance is an age-restricted active retirement community. The average person that lives in Sundance is 55+ and includes a major golfing community much like Palm Valley's Eagle's Nest Golf Club. This water reclamation facility supplies recycled water back to residents at a fixed price and is managed by the city of Buckeye.
Just like a similar facility in Palm Valley, the residents of Pebble Creek also get their water reclaimed at the Palm Water Recycling Facility. And though the Sundance community residents are less than 1200, there are exactly 1102 homes located within Sundance altogether. This is not a large community that is heavily relying on water aside from keeping the golf courses nice and green and swimming pools continually filled.
The concept of water reclamation facilities (WRF) is not a bad idea as the city of Goodyear also has a new contract to build one.
Wastewater Facilities in Buckeye
There are a total of 4 wastewater treatment facilities in Buckeye currently that are further reclaiming water for local residents. It’s an impressive collection drainage system that collects wastewater through 275 miles of underground sewage lines. The only restriction is from all pool water that is recommended to be used for irrigation and landscaping usage rather than being put back into these water treatment facilities.
If these (WRF) plants are proving to be successful at reclaiming water on this scale, there can be hope for bigger water reclamation facilities for bigger communities that are being planned. One of the newest facilities- The Jackie A. Meck Water Campus aims to supply Buckeye residents with 6 million gallons of water per day (MGD). They have further boasted that their final output can allow up to 16 MGD when construction is completed.
Last year in the spring of 2022, construction on Phase-1 was completed three months in advance and aims to supply neighboring areas. So far this has expanded Buckeye’s (WRF) plants to a total of 5, making it plausible for newer Buckeye residents to have adequate drinking water.