Agua Fria Linear Recharge Project moves into second phase

Nov. 12, 2003
The Agua Fria Linear Recharge Project moves into the second major phase of work with the award of the Phase 2 contract to PBS&J.

Groundwater recharge of surplus reclaimed water will save precious water resources and improve the environment in the desert Southwest.

PHOENIX, Ariz, Nov. 12, 2003 -- The Agua Fria Linear Recharge Project moves into the second major phase of work with the award of the Phase 2 contract to PBS&J.

The Agua Fria Linear Recharge Project has been a long-term goal for the Sub-regional Operating Group (SROG), a coalition of the cities of Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe, Arizona.

The federal sponsor of the project is the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Since the early 1990s, leaders in those cities have studied ways to supplement their water supply via groundwater recharge, while at the same time improving habitat and recreational opportunities along the Agua Fria River. The linear recharge project was first proposed in 1996.

When completed, the Agua Fria Linear Recharge Project will recharge approximately 60,000 acre-feet of reclaimed water per year. The water will be pumped from the 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant in Phoenix to the recharge area. At that point a series of lateral pipelines, spaced at one-mile intervals, will divert the water from the conveyance pipeline to the Agua Fria River channel for recharge.

Along with bolstering area aquifers, the reclaimed water will be used to augment existing habitat, create new habitat areas, and provide opportunities for recreation and education.

"This project provides the opportunity for SROG to take an under-utilized resource and put it to beneficial use to enhance the water resources of the area. It also will provide recreation and habitat resources for local residents,'' said Frank Turek, senior project manager with PBS&J.

To be responsive to all communities in the Agua Fria area, the project was divided into four phases. The first phase, also performed by PBS&J, consisted of stakeholder coordination, public information, and the preparation of a Consensus Plan.

"PBS&J's consultant team has done a great job organizing the project and helping community leaders understand how the project will meet their long-term goals and objectives," said Aimée Conroy, water services superintendent and project manager for the City of Phoenix Water Services Department.

Now that the Consensus Plan is completed, Phase 2 will consist of the preparation of conceptual design plans, an Environmental Impact Statement, development of alternatives, and a feasibility report that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will submit to Congress. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2010.

PBS&J is a provider of infrastructure planning, engineering, construction management, and program management services. The employee-owned firm is ranked by Engineering News-Record as 25th among the nation's top consulting firms, and was ranked second in CE News's "Best Civil Engineering Firms to Work For'' contest. PBS&J has more than 3,200 employees and 60 offices located throughout the U.S. and abroad.