Project Renews

 A History of Water Leadership

Formed in 1975, Community Water Company of Green Valley (CWC) has sought out renewable water supplies and has reliably delivered drinking water to its member since 1977.  The past 37 years has found CWC taking a leadership role working with The Upper Santa Cruz Providers and Users Group (USCPUG) and the Central Arizona Project (CAP) to bring Colorado River water to the Green Valley/Sahuarita area.

The aquifer in the Sahuarita and Green Valley area (Upper Santa Cruz Basin) is declining.  At some locations, well water levels have dropped by as much as 150’ in the last 50 years due to the increased demand that residents and businesses are placing on this portion of the natural aquifer of the Santa Cruz River Valley.

Bringing CAP Water to Sahuarita/Green Valley

In 1984, CWC filed a plan with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) for a pipeline to bring Colorado River water to Green Valley.  This project went unfunded, but CWC did commit to its first CAP water allocation and signed a CAP entitlement subcontract in 1985.  CWC and the Green Valley Water District are the only CAP entitlement holders south and upstream of Tucson.

To ensure a future supply of drinking water, CWC is working to halt the water table decline in the Upper Santa Cruz area by building a pipeline and underground water storage facility to bring Colorado River water to the Upper Santa Cruz area in Green Valley and Sahuarita.

Project Renews

Pipeline Route/Project Design Group

CWC initiated Project Renews in 2007 to bring renewable water supplies to this area at no cost to its members.  The United States Department of the Interior selected CWC’s plan as the preferred alternative for taking and using its CAP water entitlement of 2,858 acre-feet in their 2010 Final Environmental Assessment (FEA).

This FEA also concluded that the CWC plan will not result in any significant negative environmental impacts to the area, and in fact, will have a positive impact on the water table in the area of recharge for many years.

 The Pipeline Route

Project Map

Project Renews will transport CWC’s CAP water allocation from the CAP terminus at Pima Mine Road and I-19, to a recharge facility on Old Nogales Highway.

The 36 inch diameter main delivery pipeline will connect directly to the terminus.  From there, the pipeline will extend eastward to Nogales Highway, then south along Nogales Highway to Old Nogales Highway, and then continue south along Old Nogales Highway for about a mile.  Here the diameter pipeline ends adjacent to the proposed recharge site to the west of Old Nogales Highway.

 Project Design

The capacity of the main pipeline is designed to carry 28,000 acre-feet of water to help address the current and future needs of the Upper Santa Cruz Basin.

The total project, due to be completed in December of 2017, will cost $25-30 million.  The pipe has intentionally been oversized (CWC will use about ¼ of the capacity) to enable bringing additional CAP water further upstream.  The recharge basin is likewise planned for additional capacity up to 7,000 ac-ft per year.

Project Construction

Two years ago 1,200 feet of pipe line was laid to take advantage of a Town of Sahuarita road improvement project on Nogales Highway.

One of the major components of the proposed Project Renews water main is a crossing over the Santa Cruz River along the Pima Mine Road right-of-way alignment.

The Project Renews water main will be constructed as part of the Town of Sahuarita’s new Santa Cruz River bridge in order to safely cross over the river, and be readily accessible for maintenance and inspection.

The new bridge construction is underway and planned for completion in the summer of 2016.  As the bridge nears completion, Project Renews will finish its water main construction across the river and hook up to the CAP terminus.

Recharge Capacity

Projects Renews secured 72 acres of State Trust Land’s right-of-way located along the Santa Cruz River and at the south end of the Town of Sahuarita, Arizona.  In addition, permits have been obtained from the Department of Water Resources for construction, storage, and recharge at this site.

In its initial phase, Project Renews will recharge 3,000 acre feet of water.  Four contiguous basins are planned to recharge this water with significant capacity for additional water.

Additional basins can be accommodated on the site as access to additional CAP water becomes available.

An Environmental Habitat

The location of the recharge facilities offers an ideal opportunity to use the basins as an environmental habitat.  Located in the Santa Cruz flood plain, the site is directly on the Southern Arizona path of migrating shorebirds.  The basin design featuring gentler slopes will create habitat for shorebirds and accommodate bird watchers, hikers wishing to connect to the de Anza Trail, and many other recreational opportunities.

Commitment to the Future

This project is being constructed at no cost to CWC members.  Hudbay Minerals has agreed to fund construction as part of its commitment to CWC to provide water recharge conservation in the Green Valley/Sahuarita area. This is the first industrial entity to address its potential impact on water pumping in our area as part of its development.

Updated May 2015

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