Mayor Peterson has submitted the following status report on the Carefree Water Consolidation Plan. In it he discusses some of its benefits, including the ability to store any excess CAP allocation of newly acquired customers in the Carefree aquifer for future use. We believe publication of his letter is in the public interest.
Carefree Water Consolidation and Improvement Project Progress
Further Preparation for the Worsening Drought
Most local communities throughout the desert southwest have been strategically preparing for looming water shortages by diversifying their water portfolios and storage capacity of their water delivery systems. Carefree is no different. The current water consolidation and improvement project benefits all Carefree residents. It expands Carefree’s water allocation, gives access to Carefree’s robust water aquifer to all Carefree residents, enhances Carefree’s water storage capacity and provides for more fire suppression capacity.
Carefree’s water improvement project was not decided upon over night. The planning and public discussions took place over the course of a five year period and involved hundreds of Carefree residents. This extensive publicly vetted process has led to:
- a thorough plan to transition nearly 1/3 of Carefree’s population into the Carefree water system;
- the pre-ordering of materials to ensure escalation costs of materials are minimized;
- the hiring of industry leading construction firm, Achen-Gardner, to deliver a high quality project;
- a state-of-the-art underground storage reservoir which will be completed in the next several months; and
- a funding revenue stream strategically taking advantage of generationally low interest rates and maintaining annual water rate increases at the historical 4.4% annual increase level, well below the national annual average rate increase of 6%.
Recently, the first Carefree neighborhood was transitioned into the Carefree system. Numerous additional neighborhoods will be continuing to transition in the coming weeks and months. Concrete is being poured for the underground reservoir which will be completed this summer, including comprehensive native landscape restoration. It is anticipated that all the water improvement projects will be completed by the beginning of 2023, which will place all Carefree residents and properties in a more resilient position to address the worsening drought.
Indeed, important community investments and infrastructure projects like this do not happen overnight. Dozens of open public meetings were held and ultimately, decisions were made to ensure both the efficiency and sustainability of Carefree’s water resources in the face of the ongoing drought. A special thanks to all of those who have made significant contributions to protect Carefree’s water resources, including the staffs from the Carefree Water Company and the Town, notably Greg Crossman and Gary Neiss, and the entire Carefree Town Council, John Crane, Cheryl Kroyer, Tony Geiger, Vince D’Aliesio, Stephen Hatcher and Michael Johnson. Representative and effective government is about understanding and solving issues that face the community. These people worked with Carefree residents and property owners to provide an effective and cost efficient solution to Carefree’s water future.