From time to time, we get questions from our residents about what we’re doing to conserve water in light of concerning news about drought conditions in the Southwest. The Rec Centers have been water conscious for many years, incorporating important changes into our regular operations and capital improvement plans. We also work closely with the Arizona Department of Water Resources to ensure we are in compliance with current regulations while also preparing for future ones.
To help keep residents informed, General Manager Bill Schwind and staff have compiled the list below to help illustrate the Rec Centers’ water conservation efforts.
- Whenever one of our recreational amenities is scheduled to receive an upgrade, low usage water devices are incorporated into the planned upgrades of those amenities.
- Common devices that are often used are water saving flush valves, low usage water fixtures in our toilets, faucets and low usage shower heads in our locker rooms.
- Water leak repairs are done as quickly as possible.
Repairs, replacements and removals
- Over the past several years, residents may have noticed the improvements made to the lakeshores at many of our golf courses. These repairs aided us in water retention and have improved a few deficiencies in irrigation.
- They also helped to improve the aesthetics and playability of the golf courses!
- Older sprinkler heads, nozzles and climate control devices have been replaced, helping us reduce water usage and better monitor things such as rain, humidity and evaporation rates.
- Over the next two years, our conservation efforts at golf courses will receive an incredible boost as the replacement of the entire Grandview golf course irrigation system will begin.
- These planned replacements for our golf courses will help modernize the delivery of water, replacing a 40-year-old system that has efficiency issues.
- Scheduled turf removal in the non-playable areas of our courses and general landscape improvements will help reduce water usage.
Observing, planning and training
- We study and assess all of our golf courses to refine the areas that get overseeded during the winter months.
- Modified irrigation schedules are in place to help accommodate the low infiltration rates of our soil. These schedules help ensure good infiltration and reduce runoff.
- Water usage is tracked through weekly water reports.
- You can’t manage what you can’t measure!
- A water budget and drought management plan have been developed to help us navigate the current situation and whatever the future may hold.
- During heaving rains, storm water is transferred to golf course irrigation lakes.
- Water management training is provided to our employees.
Additional water conservation notes about our golf courses can be found by clicking here.
Additional Information for residents
- There are two water delivery methods used in Sun City West, residential delivery and groundwater.
- Sun City West golf courses are irrigated with groundwater, which is regulated and monitored by the Arizona Department of Water Resources.
- The next sets of rules pertaining to the usage of permitted groundwater are expected to be delivered in 2023 and 2025.
- As far as potable drinking water is concerned, EPCOR is the service provider for the Rec Centers. Any regulatory changes or mandated water conservation measures will be handled via the State of Arizona through them.
- Any new conservation measures would affect our amenities and how we manage them.
- Every residential unit served by EPCOR would also be affected.
- The Recreation Centers of Sun City West has no jurisdiction over residential water use on private property.
Why are the recyclables collected at all rec center properties and then promptly thrown in the trash by maintenance?
Hi George. Thank you for the question. We try to recycle what we can, but it has become more difficult to run our recycling program in a sustainable way since China moved away from collecting bulk free recycling. That, in turn, has made it more difficult for us to find a good source to accept our bulk recyclables. It has become an expensive proposition. We are currently working on a new program to make it more sustainable for us in the future. We hope to have this done by the end of the year.
Thank you very much for your water saving measurers – too bad we can’t eliminate grass from our resdential areas!
I wholeheartedly agree with you about eliminating grass from residential areas. I live in an HOA that absolutely refuses to get rid of the very expensive “grass” that we have, i.e. maintenance, watering, re-seeding. The irrigation system has leaks every week and the system is over 34 years old. The “grass” does not look like what I envision grass to look like. I think it’s supposed to be lush green, right? It may look like that for a month or so but the rest of the year it’s struggling with heat, then dying out so we can re-seed with rye. The excuses I hear from our Board are that “the snowbirds like the grass”. This is the desert. Yes, it’s different from where you come from. That’s the point! Embrace it, enjoy it, look for the beauty in it, and mostly, do the ecologically right thing! Eliminate the watering of ugly “grass” and save the water for better purposes, like drinking!
Why can’t we have a dedicated phone number to report leaks? I walk my dog every morning and I see water running down the middle of the street from broken irrigation lines. Some time they won’t be turned off for weeks since people aren’t up that early to take care of it and the timer is off so by then. Who do we call?
Robert, if the leaks are on Association property, please call Environmental Services at 623-584-1784. If the leak is on private property, a local business or an HOA, those agencies would be the ones to call. Thank you.
Thank you for providing this information.
I admit I know little about water storage, but continually see thousands of gallons of rain water flowing away during our few desert rain storms. I wonder if there ever was any attempt to store rain water in a reservoir of some sort. Also one of my thoughts was to replenish our ground water well system using rain water funneled into a reservoir immediately above our well system now used to supply AZ cities with this precious commodity and allowed to soak down into our well system. Just a thought. Obviously not an expert.
Hi Jim. We do have oversized lakes on the courses and capture as much of this rain as we can. We can then transfer it from course to course with our irrigation system. The rain water that does escape back into the ground in other areas eventually becomes part of our underground aquifer, which benefits groundwater levels, although that is a long and inefficient process. Rainwater lost to evaporation before seeping under ground is lost.
If you are trying to conserve water perhaps you can explain why everywhere I go I see grass being watered in the middle of the day?
Doug, if you are talking about residential or commercial water, that falls under EPCOR, as we have no control over those two areas. We water our courses and park at night, unless overseeding requires more water.
I very much appreciated your information on what Sun City West is doing for water conservation. It is very timely. I have been interested in Arizona water issues for a few years now. I remember a presentation at the Palm Ridge when a representative from Arizona Water Management showed projection about how Arizona’s population would nearly double in the future. It struck me strange and still does that all we talk about is conservation when there is no statewide policy for water management. Arizona is divided into districts and managed that way. It may be time to take a look at commercial and residential development from the perspective of water sustainability. All new construction ostensibly has to have a “100 year” water sustainability document. Not sure how it fits into a real analysis of the resource. It’s possible to think that revenue matters more at the capital than water sustainability.
you might want to correct bullet 1 under observing planning and training
Good catch Harry! Thank you. 🙂
Thank you for the information. Unfortunately I continuously see residents’ irrigation systems overwatering AND broken causing water to flow down the sidewalks and streets. Our residents need to be more mindful of regularly checking when their irrigation system turns on and to look for leaks. Residents that are not presently living here need to have someone routinely checking their property. **** Since 2000, the Colorado River Basin (Basin) has been experiencing a historic, extended drought that has impacted regional water supply and other resources, such as hydropower, recreation, and ecologic services. During this time, the Basin has experienced its lowest 16-year period of inflow in over 100 years of record keeping, and reservoir storage in the Colorado River system has declined from nearly full to about half of capacity. https://www.doi.gov/water/owdi.cr.drought/en/
There is a list for conserving water along with removal of turf and replacing old equipment with more up to date gear as well as a complete redo for Grandview. Where is the budget for all of these upgrades and how will that effect the annual budget i.e. Will dues go up to accomplish these seemingly expensive upgrades?
Terry, the upgrades are accomplished as the devices need replacement, so they are absorbed in the regular budget. The complete redo for irrigation systems such as at Grandview are part of major capital expenditures. Those are proposed, discussed in open meetings and public budget forums, and approved by the Board before any funds are expended. Capital projects are funded primarily by APF fees, whereas the operational budget mentioned earlier is funded by dues.