Reclaimed Water

A Valuable Supply of Water

Scottsdale was one of the first cities in the Valley to use reclaimed water for irrigation purposes.  By using reclaimed water instead of drinking water, it preserves more drinking water for us now and in the future.

Reclaimed water is highly treated wastewater that provides a quality source for irrigation of large turf areas, such as golf courses.  The city of Scottsdale owns and operates two reclaimed water treatment systems – The Water Campus and Gainey Ranch Water Reclamation Plants. These facilities have the ability to process over twenty million gallons of reclaimed water a day, 365 days a year. 

A water reclamation facility is located at Scottsdale’s Water Campus.  It treats wastewater using a combination of standard wastewater treatment technologies, microfiltration, and reverse osmosis. The reclaimed water, or effluent, produced at the Water Campus then becomes available as a water supply for non-drinking purposes.

Most of this reclaimed water is distributed through the Reclaimed Water Distribution System (RWDS) to twenty-three golf courses north of the Central Arizona Project (CAP) Canal for turf irrigation. The remaining water is put through further treatment and is pumped back into the groundwater aquifer, or recharged, through specially designed ‘vadose zone’ recharge wells.  There are more than fifty of these wells on the Water Campus grounds.

Reclaimed Water and Golf Courses

Since 1989, the majority of Scottsdale’s golf courses have been using non-potable water (water that has not been treated to drinking water standards) to meet their daily irrigation needs.  Approximately two dozen golf courses receive primarily reclaimed water from city facilities supplemented by raw water from the CAP canal to irrigate their courses. 

As wastewater flows increase in the City due to additional growth and infill and CAP water supplies need to be used to meet increased demands for drinking water, these courses will exclusively utilize reclaimed water.

Advanced Treatment

In a true public-private partnership with these golf courses, the city of Scottsdale is embarking on a project that will deliver reclaimed water that has been processed beyond traditional methods by using advanced treatment technology such as ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis technology.  

This advanced treatment technology will reduce the salt content of the reclaimed water which will assist the golf courses in efficiently managing their water use.  Scottsdale’s Advanced Water Treatment Plant is located at the Water Campus and the golf courses are funding the infrastructure improvements for the improved water they receive.

Learn more about Groundwater and Sustainability