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Avondale Drought Plan

DroughtStagesLogo2015.jpgAvondale Drought Ordinance Plan

Importance of a Drought Ordinance

Due to dense population clusters and the more immediate and continuous demand for water
in urban settings, drought will typically impact municipal water systems much more quickly and seriously than agriculture.  The City of Avondale recognizes the potential negative consequences to its citizens of drought and reduced water supplies and the importance of planning for the possibility of drought conditions.

This Drought Ordinance has been developed to assist the City in protecting its water supplies during drought conditions and to ensure the continuing economic development and stability of the City.  The City’s strategy is to ensure adequate supply to meet existing and new water demands, and to minimize the effects of drought on our economy and quality of life.  The Ordinance provides for appropriate responses to drought conditions and allows the City to allocate and monitor water use to existing, pending and future development within its jurisdictional boundaries.

Drought Ordinance

Definition of Drought
Drought is not a distinct event, but a combination of many coincidental physical and social factors working together over a period of time.  Drought can be the result of seasonal or multi-year weather conditions, a curtailment of delivery from water suppliers because of water quantity or quality problems, a water supply system structural failure, or any number of other natural or man-made factors that lead to a supply insufficiency.  When a supply insufficiency occurs, the water available in an area is not adequate to meet immediate unrestricted demands for a period of time that cannot be immediately defined.

In Arizona, several years of below normal precipitation has resulted in drought conditions and a water supply shortage throughout the state.  Long-range meteorological projections indicate the current drought will persist for an unknown period of time. 

Drought Ordinance Goals
Because drought is not a constant or predictable condition in occurrence or duration, this Drought Ordinance establishes four (4) Drought Stages with voluntary and mandatory water use restrictions applicable to each Drought Stage.  The goal at each Drought Stage is to have the least negative impact on the citizens and the economy, to share hardships equitably among classes of water users, and to maximize the benefits from the limited supply.  To prevent the escalation of early stages to more restrictive ones, this Ordinance provides the City with the ability to react quickly and to implement additional restrictions as necessary and appropriate.

Some uses, such as reserves for fire suppression, critical cooling applications, and medical necessity take priority over less universally beneficial uses and are exempt from mandatory restrictions.

Drought Matrix

The goals of the Drought Ordinance include:

  • To protect the health and safety of the public. 
  • To provide sufficient water to meet the domestic needs of the City’s customers. 
  • To minimize disruption of the economy so that jobs are protected and regional economic stability is preserved. 
  • To share the impacts and hardships caused by drought equitably and in proportion to the magnitude of the drought. 
  • To provide the authority for enforcement of the City Code so that drought related water reduction goals are met.

What Next
Living in a fragile desert environment, subject to unpredictable and long-term climatic changes, requires an intrinsic respect for our limited water resources.  This Drought Ordinance is designed to serve the City during times of water shortage and/or infrastructure malfunction; it is not intended to address water waste and/or misuse during times of ample supply.

Drought Brochure

Regional Efforts

On August 16, 2013 the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released its 24-month plan for the Colorado River that predicts reservoir levels will continue to drop. If water levels drop too far, a Colorado River shortage could be declared in 2016.  Should this happen, lower priority CAP water users would be impacted, including underground storage by the Arizona Water Banking Authority and non-Indian agriculture.  There would be no direct impact to the water supplies for cities, residential water users, and Native American Indian Tribes. 

The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), Central Arizona Project (CAP), cities and towns have been planning and monitoring the situation for decades and act collectively with other cities (such as our membership in the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA) to plan and protect or water supplies.

A potential Colorado River shortage will have no direct impact on Avondale’s water supply.

DWR will continue to work with CAP and other

stakeholdersin a clear and consistent way so that those within Arizona and our partners that share the Colorado River know that the state is unified. We will meet the short and long-term challenges facing our water future together as Arizona has historically done. The concept of team Arizona in this regard is critical to our ability to successfully create solutions to all of our water

issues.”

-ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke, addressing the CAP Board of Directors on March 5, 2015.