Higher temperatures and record-low rainfall and snowfall aren't the only things impacting our water supply. Another risk to water health is our deteriorating infrastructure.
Consisting of a series of canals, pipelines and wells that deliver water from the source (the Colorado River or a deep underground aquifer) to your tap, our water infrastructure is the responsibility of state agencies, municipalities and private water companies.
If this infrastructure isn't maintained and continually updated, water lines can fail, leading to water leaks draining pipes and systems of precious water. Residents are then put at risk.
Wells, water mains and pipes must be continually maintained or the entire system suffers. Our engineering and operations teams are constantly monitoring the health of our water-supply infrastructure and replacing components as necessary. Between now and 2025, we'll be investing more than $500 million into upgrades.
Infrastructure and the drought
Did you know that the health of your water infrastructure is directly related to the drought? That's because maintaining it for the long term costs municipalities and private water companies money. Given Arizona's current water rate structure, there's no safety net in place to ensure that they can afford to keep the water running.
Arizona currently has approximately 300 private water companies. Under our current regulated fee structure, most of the cost to deliver your water is tied to how much water you use. That means that when water use goes down, water companies have less money to run, repair and replace parts of the system that need it. Other states, like California, do it a little differently, making it possible for companies to keep the system in tip-top shape and helping customers focus on conserving.