Drought Preparedness

Roosevelt Dam

For decades, smart management decisions have helped Chandler maintain a steady water supply. Chandler began preparing for naturally occurring droughts decades ago. Chandler started its water conservation programs in 1990 with the goal of instilling a water conservation ethic and permanently reducing water use.

The Colorado River Basin has been facing one of the worst droughts in 1,200 years, plus experiencing a warmer climate. This added stress to the already over-allocated Colorado River has caused a Tier 1 shortage to be declared by the Bureau of Reclamation. The Colorado River shortage will take effect on Jan. 1, 2022. A Tier 1 shortage means Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico have all agreed to take less water from the Colorado River for the year. Due to Arizona’s priority system and the Drought Contingency Plan, central Arizona agricultural users will face the brunt of the reductions. Municipalities and tribes have the highest Central Arizona Project priority and will not face water reductions in early drought.

This Colorado River shortage is not a surprise as we have been expecting it for years. Chandler is prepared for shortages and will continue to prepare for the possibility of deeper shortages. Droughts and shortages are not short-term problems; they are a reality in the desert. That is why long-term planning is a priority in our arid climate. Effective water management and efficient water use provide the foundation for us to grow, prosper, and remain sustainable despite these challenges. Chandler’s 100-year Assured Water Supply Designation from the State along with our Water Allocation Policy ensure reliable water supplies that support responsible growth in our community. To ensure we are prepared for shortage and drought, we have made significant investments in our infrastructure, diverse water supplies, water reuse, underground storage, and conservation programs.

Chandler’s drought preparations include:

  • Securing a diversified water supply to reduce its reliance on one water source.
  • Implementing a progressive Water Conservation Program and Ordinances that actively promote water conservation practices, regardless of the water supply.
  • Constructing a Reclaimed Water System as an environmentally sound way of reusing our water resources while saving our potable water supplies for future uses.
  • Constructing a reliable well program that allows the City to pump groundwater during times of surface water shortages and to meet peak summer demands.
  • Developing an Underground Storage and Recovery Program that allows the City to store surface water underground so it can be recovered using City wells when it is needed during surface water shortages.

While there is not an immediate impact on our ability to meet the water needs of our residents and businesses, everyone is urged to continue conservation efforts. Water conservation works. We are using less water per person, per household than we did 20 or 30 years ago. Because of the continuing conservation efforts, the average household in Chandler is using 15% less water today than it did 20 years ago. Chandler’s strong conservation ethic has actually helped us avoid needing to impose water restrictions during prolonged times of drought and in the face of shortage.

We thank all customers for taking on this conservation ethic. We also recognize the seriousness of drought and shortage and believe this declaration will motivate all of us to further examine our water use for long-term sustainability. Chandler will continue to manage, conserve, and invest in our water supplies.

2020 Water Conservation Program Results*

  • Residential Water Audit Program saved 68.8 million gallons
    • An average of 60,000 gallons saved per audit
  • Residential Landscape Consultation Program saved 2.5 million gallons
    • An average of 39,000 gallons saved per consultation
  • Residential Landscape Conversion Rebate Program saved 1.7 million gallons
    • An average of 49,000 gallons saved per conversion
  • Residential Smart Controller Rebate Program saved 1.6 million gallons
    • An average of 6,000 gallons saved per audit
  • Non-Residential Audit Program saved 14 million gallons
    • An average of 130,000 gallons saved per audit
  • Non-Residential Landscape Consultation Program saved 8.7 million gallons
    • An average of 582,000 gallons saved per consultation

*Estimates based on a 3-year rolling average

Our city does not depend on local rainfall for its water supply. Instead, we rely on water from far north of us that is captured in reservoirs and delivered by a system of canals. We also use a small amount of water pumped from 30 wells in the city.

  • 94% surface water (Salt River Project, Central Arizona Project, Roosevelt Water Conservation District)

  • 6% groundwater

Yes. Chandler formulated its drought management plan over a decade ago. It describes Chandler's existing drought programs and demand reduction measures that will be implemented should we experience severe drought conditions.

There are many of ways to conserve water such as watering your landscape at night or very early in the morning, installing a low water use landscape, forgo the planting of a winter lawn, periodically checking for leaks both inside and outside the home, watering your lawn and plants efficiently, installing low water use plumbing fixtures, using a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk, running your dishwasher and clothes washer only when you have full loads, turning off the faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth, making sure your irrigation system is working properly and taking advantage of the various water conservation programs that Chandler offers.

Visit Chandler Water Conservation or Water Use It Wisely for more than 100 ways you can save water. For more information contact Chandler’s Water Conservation Office or call 480-782-3580.


Lake Mead
Saguaro Dam
Colorado River