Planning for Long-Term Water Shortages

With the Southwest United States, including Arizona, in a new climate of aridification (the gradual change of a region to a drier climate), Scottsdale has been preparing for the hotter, drier future.

Currently, Scottsdale is in Stage One of its Drought Management Plan (PDF). This stage is characterized by increased monitoring and evaluation activities related to the shortage episode.

For decades, Scottsdale has proactively planned for long-term, sustainable water supplies and has secured a diverse and resilient water supply portfolio. This reduces the community's vulnerability to the risks associated with supply reductions. Scottsdale's preparedness includes:

  • Preparation through a Drought Management Plan - that implements progressively more actionable processes as shortages intensify
  • Diversifying the city's water portfolio - so the city is not as susceptible to water variances with one source
  • Investing in infrastructure and technology - including the newest Aquifer and Recovery Storage Wells
  • Increasing water recycling efforts and expanding the use of highly purified, recycled water
  • Expanding conservation programs and customer outreach
  • Embracing a holistic approach throughout city departments to embrace further water savings

Scottsdale's water resources Master Plan also details a strategic long-term direction emphasizing the increased use of renewable and diverse water supplies.

Drought Management Plan

In April 2021, Scottsdale's City Council approved the updated Drought Management Plan (PDF), which details the city's responses to drought conditions when water deliveries to treatment plants are reduced or curtailed, resulting in a reduction of water deliveries to customers.

There are four drought stages in this plan with each stage representing a progressively more actionable items and including increasingly stringent water conservation measures. These measures aim to reduce water use with each progressive stage.


Scottsdale is constructing four Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Wells at strategic locations throughout the city as part of its commitment to maximizing renewable surface water supplies and minimizing the use of groundwater. This will ensure long-term water supply sustainability by recharging high quality, potable water directly into the aquifer when water demand is low (late fall and winter months) and retain the capability to withdraw groundwater during high demand or emergencies.

Water Recycling

Scottsdale has been recycling water for decades. The Advanced Water Treatment Plant, located at the Scottsdale Water Campus, takes highly purified, recycled water and injects it into the underground aquifer for future retrieval.

That finished water, often referred to as RO permeate, is injected into a series of dry wells where it flows through an additional 400 feet of natural filtration before reaching our drinking water aquifer or sent to the Reclaimed Water Distribution System.

Scottsdale recharges over 1.7 billion gallons of purified recycled water to replenish our drinking water annually - a resource we can tap into when other water supplies are restricted.

City-wide Approach

Scottsdale recognizes that every drop of water is precious in the desert. In addition to assuring the stability of the community's long-term water supply, we are also the leading stewards in minimizing our water use.

  • Parks and Recreation staff keeps Scottsdale's parks green and water lean by maintaining a water budget and using water-saving techniques to reach goals. Parks also annually analyzes grass areas that are underutilized by the public and propose new areas for grass conversion (to desert friendly landscape)
  • Scottsdale's water features use recirculating pumps to recycle water and only run during business hours or to minimize water loss through evaporation.
  • Scottsdale has a robust water conservation program which offers rebates, water efficiency workshops, free Outdoor Water Efficiency Checks and access to WaterSmart - a user friendly website portal where customers can view and manage their water use for their individual water account(s).

Scottsdale Water Resources

9312 N. 94th St. Scottsdale, AZ 85258


Monday 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Thursday 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed
City Holiday Schedule
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