At the November 12, 2019 Council meeting, the City Council considered adopting a new Water Management Policy, as well as several City Code Amendments related to the policy changes. There was extensive discussion of the proposed changes and several Council members requested the language in the documents be amended.
Council will be considering adoption of the 2019 Water Management Policy and City Code Amendments including the revised language in a Work Study Session on November 19, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall located at 201 S Cortez Street. The Council will also vote on the adoption of the proposed changes at its regular meeting beginning at 3 p.m.
On Tuesday, November 12, 2019, during the regular City Council voting meeting, the City Council will consider adoption of a new “Water Management Policy” and several amendments to City Code in support of the new policy.
As a result of public input already received, some of the proposed changes to the Water Policy and Code Amendments are being deferred from the November 12th vote. Items for further study and/or consideration into the future include regional cooperation, sewer connections and water outside the City. The regular City Council voting meeting begins at 3:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, located at City Hall 201 S. Cortez Street.
The Council memo and proposed City Code amendments are as follows:
The City Council has discussed long term water policy changes in a series of work study meetings from June – September 2019. The proposed policy changes are intended to be a long-term plan in the management of the City’s water supplies and to assure potential applicants that they can rely on a consistent set of rules when applying for water service.
Water Policy continues to be a top priority for the City Council. A series of Work Study meetings to discuss potential Policy changes began in June and will continue through October 2019.
The proposed policy change intends to:
- Continue to protect and conserve Prescott’s water supply to ensure its longevity through proper management.
- Use modern technology for accurate accounting of Prescott’s water supplies, including future predictions.
- Improve city processes by eliminating bureaucracy and unneeded steps in water allocation.
Your input is welcome, valuable and encouraged. If you have any questions or comments, please send an email.
Below are each of the work study presentations. We encourage you to watch the videos and read the meeting summaries. These are very brief summaries designed to be a short guide to the content.
- Prescott’s Water Supply – Overview of Code & Policy Changes – June 11
- Content: The first meeting provided background on the City’s water supply. In summary, households and businesses are using less water thanks to citizen efforts in reducing water use through smaller households, low water use landscaping and increasingly efficient appliances and fixtures. Prescott’s long-term water supply is stable, robust, and in good shape.
- Draft Policy Changes – June 25
- Content: This meeting discussed the bureaucratic process City staff uses when a new home or business needs water or sewer services. Staff proposed streamlining the process by decreasing the amount of water service agreements written for minimal amounts of water and uploading the data into antiquated Excel documents. Instead, staff would begin tracking actual water use using modern technology for all current and future water users.
- Impact: If this policy is approved, it will have no impact on current residents or businesses. It does not eliminate or change any planning, zoning or policy requirements. It does not change how water is used. This change is simply administrative to make your government work more efficiently.
- Water Service Outside City Limits – July 9
- Content: Staff discussed the possibility of providing water outside city limits to reduce overdraft in the region’s aquifer, improve water quality, increase recharge and decrease lost water. Septic systems have increased pollution in our streams and lakes, causing them to be listed among the most polluted waterways in the country. . In addition, exempt wells are unregulated and are not adequately controlled by the State.
- Impact: Providing water outside the city would help the water supply by ensuring the water is returned to the aquifer via City sewer system and treatment. If approved, out-of-city users would be charged higher rates than residents, and be required to pay for their own infrastructure. Current City residents will see no impacts from this change.
- Other Code Changes – July 23
- Content: Staff discussed ways to simplify the code and remove outdated, unused or cumbersome provisions.
- Sewer Requirements – Aug. 13
- Content: There is currently no requirement to connect to sewer in City Code. Septic tanks do not recharge wastewater into the aquifer and increase pollution in our streams and lakes.
- Impact: Current residents could continue to use their septic systems until sewer systems are available in their area. Then they’d be required to connect to the sewer. The City will be establishing a committee to investigate the best ways to expand the City sewer system and provide financing for existing residences.
- Public Meetings – Sept. 4, Sept. 9, Sept. 11 and Sept. 17
- Content: City staff held a series of public meetings throughout the City to maximize participation. The meetings drew a total of 100 participants who met one-on-one with staff to discuss water policy. The most common concern was how Prescott’s proposed policy would help the region reach “safe yield.”
- Impact: Each of the proposed policy changes supports the region’s goal of safe yield. Requiring sewer service to ensure recharge, providing alternatives to new wells in the region, and continuing to support conservation helps the region’s water supply. The City of Prescott is not the only entity within the Prescott Active Management Area. Further discussions will continue with our neighbors and the Arizona Department of Water Resources for future regional cooperation.