City Vision

Water is our community’s most valuable resource, not only for the vitality of the city, but as an important element of the integrity of our greater desert ecosystem. Ensuring our future water supply means that we must engage in conservation efforts today. 

Mayor and Council recently endorsed the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, which calls for more efficient pumps in our water system. The City’s commitment to smart water management involves comprehensive planning to meet the long-term water supply needs of the community, coupled with a strong water conservation program. The City’s water conservation efforts include actions to reduce City water use and community water conservation education. The protection of local water supplies also requires effective management of stormwater quantity and quality. The City is working hard to achieve these goals, and to reach our shared vision of an assured, clean water supply balanced by a strong commitment to water conservation for the overall health of our ecosystem.

Water related elements of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement:

• Increase pump efficiency in water systems.

    This page is dedicated to providing information about the City of Tucson’s departments, codes, plans, programs, and resources related to Water Resources.


    City Departments

    Tucson Water is responsible for delivering water to 700,000 people in the Tucson area and for planning for the future water needs in Tucson, including water conservation efforts. 

    Tucson Department of Transportation Stormwater Management Section
    The Stormwater Management Section of the Tucson Department of Transportation works to keep pollutants out of Tucson's stormwater drainage system. Keeping our stormwater clean keeps our drinking water clean.


    Advisory Committees

    Citizens Water Advisory Committee (CWAC)

    Act as the official advisory body on Water Capital Improvement Program planning and rate structure formulation to City Government.

    Stormwater Advisory Committee (SAC)

    Advise on stormwater management issues.


    City Plans, Codes and Programs

    Water Infrastructure, Supply, and Planning Study

    The City of Tucson Mayor and Council and the Pima County Board of Supervisors have initiated a multi-year study of water and wastewater infrastructure, supply and planning issues. The ultimate goal of this effort is to assure a sustainable community water source given continuing pressure on water supply caused by population growth.

    Drought Preparedness and Response Plan
    This plan was developed in compliance with HB2277 passed by the Arizona State Legislature in 2005 requiring all Arizona water providers to develop a drought preparedness and response plan. Because Tucson Water supplies water from the Colorado River (CAP), the criteria for declaring different stages of drought do not only consider local conditions, but also conditions affecting the Colorado River. As the severity of drought increases, water restrictions may also increase.

    Long Range Water Plan- Water: 2000-2050
    Our growing desert community has some tough choices to make. Tucson Water’s Long Range Water Plan lays out the challenges and opportunities we all face if we want to ensure a secure water future for our families and ourselves. 

    Residential Gray Water Ordinance

    Requires the installation of gray water “stub-outs” in all new residential construction beginning on June 1, 2010.Commercial Rainwater Harvesting Ordinance

    As of June 1, 2010, this ordinance requires all new commercial development to prepare a landscape water budget and supply 50% of the landscape water needs with harvested rainwater 

    City of Tucson Water Harvesting Guidance Manual
    Implementation of water harvesting techniques is a water conservation measure that can also enhance natural habitats. This manual provides information and design ideas to developers, engineers, designers, contractors and the general public.

    Santa Cruz River Restoration

    Critical riparian and cienega habitats have been lost in the region due to water resource changes in Pima County. Congress authorized the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to evaluate environmental restoration potentials along the Santa Cruz River, from the north boundary of the Tohono O’Odham Nation, north to Sanders Road, in Marana. This project is divided into three sections: El Rio Medio (sponsored by the City of Tucson and Pima County), Paseo de las Iglesias(sponsored by Pima County), and Tres Rios del Norte (sponsored by the Town of Marana, the City of Tucson, and Pima County).

    Stormwater Quality Ordinance
    Passed by Mayor and Council on October 18, 2005. The goal of this ordinance is to protect stormwater quality entering the City’s stormwater drainage system. The Ordinance provides authority to inspect industrial facilities and construction sites to evaluate their compliance with federal and state stormwater quality requirements.

    Water Consumer Protection Act
    The purpose of this ordinance is to restore first class drinking water to the people of Tucson and replenish Tucson's groundwater supply by amending Chapter 27 of the Tucson Code and adding a new Article VI providing for use of water resources.

    Xeriscape Landscaping and Screening Ordinance
    The Xeriscape Landscaping Ordinance became effective in February 1991. This comprehensive landscape code applies to new multifamily, commercial, and industrial development. One of the goals of this ordinance is to conserve water by using established xeriscape principals in landscape design. The regulations require the use of drought-tolerant plants from a published list and limits non-drought tolerant vegetation to small "oasis" areas. Contact the City Clerk’s Officefor a copy of the ordinance.

    Plumbing Ordinance
    In 1989, Pima County and the City of Tucson adopted parallel plumbing codes requiring water-efficient fixtures in all new residential and commercial construction. Under the ordinances, toilets must be ultra-low-flush models using 1.6 gallons or less per flush while showerheads and faucets must not exceed 2.5 gallons a minute. The codes also apply to the replacement of plumbing fixtures in existing homes and commercial buildings during renovation. Contact the City Clerk’s Office for a copy of the ordinance.

    Water Waste Ordinance
    Since 1984, it has been illegal in Tucson to allow water to escape from private property onto another person's property or onto public property such as alleys and streets. The water waste and tampering ordinance reinforces the message that it is unethical as well as unlawful to waste water in Tucson.

    Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance
    In order to ensure Tucson Water can maintain adequate water supplies to provide for life safety, and fire protection, an Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance was approved by Mayor & Council on March 20, 1995. The Ordinance gives the Mayor & Council, the Mayor, or his designate the authority to declare a water emergency and to implement mandatory water conservation measures targeting non-essential uses.

    Zanjero Program
    Tucson Water customers can make an appointment for a free Water Audit designed to maximize water conservation potential around the home.

    WaterSmart Workshops
    These workshops are geared toward homeowners. Topics include Drip Irrigation Design and Maintenance, Plant Selection, Irrigation Timer Use, and Rainwater Harvesting.

    SmartScape Workshops
    This series offers landscape professionals and property managers a high-quality training course and prepares them to be certified as a specialist in water efficient landscape practices.

    View all City water conservation programs and workshops…


    Other Government Programs

    Pima County Sustainable Action Plan for County Operations (pdf)

    Pima County Drought Management website

    Pima County Drought Management Plan (pdf)

    Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department

    The Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department (PCRWRD) provides design, management, and maintenance of the sanitary sewer system for all of Pima County, including the conveyance system and treatment system. The department manages three metropolitan wastewater treatment plants and eight outlying facilities.

    Pima Association of Governments Watershed Planning

    PAG’s Watershed Planning Program focuses on ways to preserve or improve the water resources in Pima County's watersheds.

    Arizona Statewide Drought Program

    All areas of the world experience natural cycles of drought. However, Arizona is especially sensitive to drought impacts. Because Arizona is an arid state, water is scarce here even during years of above-average precipitation, and population growth continues to increase our demand for water. The future of the state will depend on the wise water management choices we make today. Governor’s Drought Declaration (pdf)

    Arizona Water Banking Authority. The AWBA web page supplies information on recent announcements about the Water Bank, biographies of the Authority members, links to Water Bank publications, the history of the Water Bank and links to other related web sites. The "Bank Ledger" section contains both planned and actual delivery tables and graphs for the entire state, AMAs, and irrigation districts

    Arizona Water Protection Fund. The AWPF web page provides details on the projects funded by the Water Protection Fund, as well as recent announcements, the history of the Water Protection Fund and information on the Water Protection Fund Commissioners. The funded projects are in a database that can be searched, or project summaries can be selected by clicking on a map of the state.

    Arizona Department of Water Resources Conservation Program

    Arizonans have been planning sustainable water resources for many years and have benefited from nearly 25 years of wise water resource management. This is a responsibility for all Arizonans and the Arizona Department of Water Resources is committed to working with local communities to assess conservation needs and assist in the development of new programs, promote water education throughout the state, create guidelines for more efficient use of water, provide suggestions for funding and implement conservation programs.

    Arizona Tax Credits for Water Conservation

    Effective January 1, 2007, Arizona taxpayers who install a “water conservation system” (defined as a system to collect rainwater or residential greywater) in their residence may take a one-time tax credit of 25% of the cost of the system up to a maximum of $1,000. Builders are eligible for an income tax credit of up to $200 per residence unit constructed with a water conservation system installed.Click here to download information about the tax credit from the AZ Dept. of Revenue.

    EPA WaterSense Program
    WaterSense makes it easy for Americans to save water and protect the environment. Look for the WaterSense label to choose quality, water-efficient products. Explore links to learn about WaterSense labeled products, saving water, and how businesses and organizations can partner with WaterSense.



    Harvesting Water for Landscape Use 

    Water CASA (Conservation Alliance of Southern Arizona)

    Now in its eleventh year, the Water Conservation Alliance of Southern Arizona (Water CASA) continues to provide a means for member water providers to augment their individual conservation programs and to improve the region's overall water conservation efforts. Today, members include Community Water Company of Green Valley, Flowing Wells Irrigation District, Town of Marana Water Department, Metropolitan Water Domestic Improvement District, Town of Oro Valley Water Department, Pima County, Bureau of Reclamation, the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District, and our newest member, the Town of Sahuarita.

    University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center (WRRC)

    A research and extension unit of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the WRRC is the designated state water resources research center established under the 1964 Federal Water Resources Research Act. The WRRC conducts water policy research and analysis, and its information transfer activities include publications, conferences, lectures, and seminars.  Water news and information are provided to the academic community, water professionals, elected and appointed officials, students and the public.  The WRRC is one of four University of Arizona water centers responsible for implementing the Water Sustainability Program, which receives funding from The University of Arizona’s Technology and Research Initiative Fund (TRIF).

    Arizona Drought Resources from Arizona Cooperative Extension

    USGS Arizona Water Science Center

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Web page for the water resources of Arizona is your direct link to all kinds of water-resource information. Here you'll find information on Arizona's rivers and streams. You'll also find information about ground water, water quality, and many other topics.