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KGUN 9 Tucson News

Tucson City Council voting on water-reduction measures

By Andrew Christiansen,


Saving water is a way of life for Bob Cook. He’s been living sustainably for about thirty years and is a strong supporter of water conservation and using technologies to achieve water reduction.

In order to live sustainably, he uses a cistern that catches rainwater at his house.

“The roof collects it in the gutter and it flows down the spout and into this,” he said about his cistern.

He also has low flow faucets and toilets in his house as well as a washing machine that pours water out into his garden.

On Tuesday, the Tucson City Council is expected to vote on two new code amendments that would require new developments to use water-sense fixtures for all their water appliances like toilets, showers, and faucets. The new requirement would also apply to housing developments.

Water-sense fixtures are products that the Environmental Protection Agency says are 20 percent more water efficient compared to others in the same category.

Cook agrees with the City’s plan to make new developments use water-sense products.

“If we’re going to sustain the population that we have, we’re going to have to use water more efficiently,” he said.

Tucson Ward Three Councilman Kevin Dahl said not only would the water sense-fixtures cut homeowners’ water bills, but he said there is also another benefit.

“It may be in some developments that we have smaller pipes that lead to those developments,” he said.

The City Council is also proposing an amendment that would ban ornamental grass turf. That kind of turf isn’t the artificial kind that is installed in places like football fields, but is a kind of real grass that needs to be watered.

“Dogs aren’t using it, kids aren’t playing on it. It’s just there for decorative purposes and that’s a waste of water,” Dahl said.

As for the timing of the two proposed amendments, he said they’re in response to Arizona cutting water use from the Colorado River and the drought.

He said the City Council will also be considering incentives for Tucson residents to take out ornamental turf from their homes and incentives to use water-sense fixtures. He said they won’t be talking about it at the City Council meeting, but could be in the near future.

As he walked past his drought tolerant plants that use less water, Cook said banning ornamental turf would help Tucson’s water supply.

“We can’t afford to be growing grass here in the desert, especially with the fact that the Colorado River is in such a crisis state and we depend on the Colorado,” he said.

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