Achieving Consensus on Sustainability Tucson s Water Harvesting and Graywater Ordinances

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1 Achieving Consensus on Sustainability Tucson s Water Harvesting and Graywater Ordinances Rodney Glassman, JD, Ph.D., Ward 2 Councilman, City of Tucson Doctorates in Arid Land Studies and Law, Legislative Aide to Congressman Raul Grijalva, Consultant for KB Home

2 US Water News, 3/08 Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star, 2/2/09 Arizona Daily Star, 3/13/09

3 It s s hard to find new water supplies Source: City of Tucson, Water Plan 2050

4 Drought and climate change are here Source:

5 Tucson: last stop on the CAP Source:

6 Stormwater going down the drain... Urban street flooding Flashy flood peaks on watercourses Stormwater quality issues

7 One use of stormwater runoff Brad Lancaster,

8 Five great things about rainwater There s lots of it! Tucson Water demand = 147,000 acre-feet/year Rainfall in same area = 185,600 acre feet/year! 2. Its free! 3. It falls where you need it 4. Plants like it s low salt and high nitrogen 5. Harvest it! Stop spending $$$ getting rid of it

9 Another great thing... Rainwater is a great alternative to other costly water sources Desalinizing brackish groundwater costs $300/acre foot CAP cost $4 billion to build. CAP water costs $114/acre foot, but deliveries could drop by 1/3 to 1/2 if predictions hold true Desalinizing sea water costs $1000/acre foot

10 Rainwater Harvesting...intercepting stormwater from a roof, driveway, soil or other surface and putting it to beneficial use

11 Tucson started early... Strong grass roots movement for 15 years 2009 Brad Lancaster, Required by the Tucson Land Use Code since mid-1990s (qualitative requirement)

12 Microbasins Lots of ways to do it Swales

13 Infiltration Basins French drains

14 Curb cuts Porous pavement

15 Tanks/Cisterns

16 Glassman s commitment: Rainwater harvesting on new commercial development Provide EVERYONE with an equal seat at the table.

17 Building consensus to change the face of Tucson 1. Motion to Mayor and Council 2. Assemble City staff 3. Assemble public representatives 4. Develop Ordinance 5. Adopt Ordinance 6. Prepare Development Standard 7. Build partnerships for pilot studies

18 Ordinance Adoption First in nation that quantifies commercial use 20 organizations spoke in favor Best public hearing I ever attended. Tucson s Mayor Main Components New commercial only Meet 50% of landscape demand Water harvesting plan and water budget 3 years to establish plants Meter outdoor water use Soil-moisture-based irrigation control Relief from 50% requirement in a drought Report annually

19 Misconceptions Water harvesting recharges the aquifer..not when its 250 feet to groundwater Why harvest rainwater when it rarely rains?..harvesting maximizes the rainwater you do get Rainwater harvesting breeds mosquitoes.. Infiltrate water into soil within 24 hours to prevent breeding Must use tanks to harvest rainwater.. Harvesting in soil is easy, cheap and effective Harvesting rainwater will deprive washes of water Water harvesting reduces some runoff but not all

20 Lessons learned Use demand driven requirements not supply-driven Provide implementation details before adoption for support Start with outdoor requirements for simplicity Encourage use of native plants Know your surface water rights 2009 Brad Lancaster,

21 Graywater Reuse...diverting used water from washing machines, bathtubs, showers, and lavatory sinks to a beneficial use 2009 Brad Lancaster,

22 Arizona started early... Strong grass roots movement January 2001: ADEQ implemented simple residential graywater use rules 2009 Brad Lancaster, Brad Lancaster,

23 Glassman s commitment: Graywater stub-outs on new residential Provide EVERYONE with an equal seat at the table. Source: Graywater Guidelines, prepared by Water Conservation Alliance of Southern Arizona

24 Ordinance Adoption Residential focus chosen because... Large potential to irrigate with graywater Plumbing should be done at time of construction Source: Graywater Guidelines, prepared by Water Conservation Alliance of Southern Arizona Main Components New single family and duplexes: Separate stub-outs on washers New single family: drains for lavatories, showers and bathtubs, segregated from other drains Provide graywater piping stubs out within 3 feet of building foundation Provide user-ready system to hook graywater distribution system to (no plumbing retrofit required)

25 Misconceptions 2009 Brad Lancaster, Odors are always a problem...distribute to multiple points under mulch to infiltrate fast and prevent odor Can t eat food from a graywater-supplied garden...ok to water dirt around food plants, just don t water the plant parts you eat Municipal sewer system deprived of graywater won t drain Can flush sewer lines with alternative water supplies, like reclaimed water, if extra flushing is needed Graywater is bad for soil Maintain good soil health by avoiding products with salt or sodium and by diluting graywater basins with harvested rainwater Graywater is unhealthy...graywater Ordinance complies with ADEQ guidelines. Householders should follow ADEQ guidelines too

26 Lessons learned Keep the ordinance simple and flexible so it is adaptable to future technologies Get a variety of technical input from grass roots to professional Involve the wastewater management agency or jurisdiction in your area Work out details of implementation before adopting the ordinance to help garner support 2009 Brad Lancaster,

27 Next steps Conduct water harvesting and graywater pilot studies Adjust City Codes to be compatible with new requirements Prepare for unintended consequences Educate staff and public on new ordinances Communicate regionally to share experiences and lessons A bright future Develop Arizona as the go-to source for water harvesting Good for business, potential as a growth industry, creates new markets

28 Commitments become realities X X X X ADOPTED COMMERCIAL RAINWATER HARVESTING ORDINANCE ADOPTED RESIDENTIAL GRAYWATER STUBOUT ORDINANCE OBTAINED DEDICATED FUNDING FOR EXISTING WATER CONSERVATION PROGRAMS (July 2008) CHANGED LANDSCAPING REQUIREMENT TO ONE TREE PER FOUR PARKING SPACES Recipient of EPA Region Environmental Achievement Award in recognition of exceptional work and commitment to protecting the environment

29 Before and after Water Harvesting Lancaster Residence Right of Way Tucson, Arizona 2009 Brad Lancaster, Brad Lancaster, Done entirely with the passive water harvesting systems the Ordinance promotes

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