Results from this year’s Arizona Department of Water Resources indicate the city of Cottonwood has achieved an all-time low water usage.According to the city’s Natural Resources Director Tom Whitmer, one of the major ways the Arizona Department of Water Resources measures the efficiency of water providers is by producing a Total Gallons Per Capita Daily Use figure, which is calculated “by dividing the total water pumped for all uses — residential, commercial and industrial — by the population served and then dividing that number by the number of days in a year.”
By the end of 2017, the figure for the Cottonwood water service area, including areas outside of the city proper, had dropped to 85 gallons per person per day.
“This represents one of the lowest Total Gallons Per Capita Daily Use [figures] for a municipality in the state of Arizona,” Whitmer said. “A Total Gallons Per Capita Daily Use of 85 for a municipality in the state is almost unheard of and the city’s customers and maintenance staff are to be commended for their efforts.”
The figure is part of a progressive trend, Whitmer added — one that has been occurring since the city’s purchase of private water companies in 2004 and 2006. The percent change in Total Gallons Per Capita Daily Use from 2006, when the figure stood at 143, to last year equals a 41 percent reduction.
Moreover, the reduction in annual water pumping from 2006 to last year is 261,329,035 gallons, or 25 percent.
Since 2001, the earliest year cited by the city, the Total Gallons Per Capita Daily Use figure has dropped in half, while total pumping is down 29 percent.
According to Whitmer, the reduction is the result of “conservation efforts implemented by the city [as well as] the city’s continual investment in upgrades to the water delivery system, which has improved the efficiency of the system and reduced the lost and unaccounted for water associated with faulty meters and system leaks.”
In the Cottonwood Water Service area, “lost and unaccounted-for water” has reduced from more than 40 percent in 2005 to below 10 percent last year.
Mayor Timothy Elinski praised city staff for their efforts in conserving water and educating the public, looking to proactive ways to address water resource concerns.
Whitmer also praised residents for their wise usage of water, as well as growing concern for water conservation in general, which will help ensure a healthy future for the Verde River and its tributaries.
According to Whitmer, the city’s school water conservation education program will play a pivotal role in the future of the city, as well as the region’s riparian habitats.