Peoria invests $63 million for water wells, pumping station as prep for a ‘worst case scenario’

Nov 4, 2023, 5:11 PM

peoria arizona water CAP canal...

In an aerial view, the Central Arizona Project canal runs past homes in the Phoenix suburbs on June 8, 2023 in Peoria, Arizona. Arizona will no longer be able to give developers new permits for home construction in some outlying desert suburbs of Maricopa County which rely on groundwater wells. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The City of Peoria announced last week that it will invest $63.5 million to build five new water wells and a booster pump station.

The wells are intended to store water for a worst case scenario, according to a city press release, such as cuts on Peoria’s water allocation from the Colorado River due to continuing drought.

The new wellfield will be built north of Loop 303, west of Lake Pleasant Parkway and south of the Central Arizona Project Canal. Exploratory water sampling drilling found this area has more water and better water quality than anticipated.

Arizona State Land Department is the primary landowner in this area. Peoria is coordinating and negotiating with the department and other local landowners on the location of the well sites and road access for infrastructure.

The project will be funded through Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona loans and grants, including a COVID-19 stimulus grant.

Construction on the new wells is expected to begin next year, with completion scheduled for spring 2026.

Peoria’s water plans

Peoria utilizes four different water sources to ensure supply: Central Arizona Project; Salt River Project; reclaimed water; and groundwater.

Peoria can order up to 34,121 acre-feet of CAP water annually. That total includes 7,000 acre-feet of Indian priority CAP water through a 100-year lease with the Gila River Indian Community.

The two CAP sources share a high priority designation and are the last to be reduced during a shortage of CAP water. In recent years, Peoria has been using approximately 60-65% of its annual allocation of CAP water to meet customer demands.

SRP water comes from the Salt and Verde River watershed which collects rain and snowmelt and is stored by dams along the rivers. Once released from the dams, SRP water is delivered to Peoria by the Arizona Canal. When dam water levels are low, SRP pumps groundwater from wells into the canals.

Peoria must offset any groundwater supplied by SRP by recharging other renewable supplies such as CAP or reclaimed water or deducting from its groundwater allowance.

Peoria also uses three water reclamation facilities to treat wastewater. Nearly 100% is reused and irrigates parks and other large, landscaped areas.

The final part of Peoria’s water supply is groundwater, which accumulates naturally over thousands of years as precipitation percolates into the ground. Peoria pumps groundwater based on annual Arizona Department of Water Resources sustainable allowances.

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Peoria invests $63 million for water wells, pumping station as prep for a ‘worst case scenario’