Chandler's Reclaimed Water System

The lake at Veterans Oasis Park is a site for reclaimed water groundwater recharge.
The lake at Veterans Oasis Park is a site for reclaimed water groundwater recharge.

In a desert, water is an especially valuable resource, yet in Chandler, you see a lot of green grass, lakes, fountains and golf courses. Have you ever wondered why? It’s because, for decades, the City has been conserving water by recycling it. 

In Chandler, every drop of water used inside your home is used twice. The City delivers reclaimed water used to fill lakes and irrigate golf courses, parks, neighborhood common areas, roadside landscaping and crops.

Reclaimed water is the product of highly advanced treatment processes that cleans wastewater from your kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms and sinks. A complex system of screening, biological treatment and disinfection takes place at Chandler’s two water reclamation facilities to remove a wide range of contaminants. 

Tests show that reclaimed water is much cleaner than the water found in many rivers and canals. Although you shouldn’t drink or swim in reclaimed water, it is a safe and vital part of Chandler’s effort to conserve our valuable drinking water supply. 

Our Innovative Reclaimed Infrastructure

Chandler treated 9.4 billion gallons of water in 2018. In other words, the City saved 9.4 billion gallons of surface water and groundwater in 2018 by using reclaimed water instead.

The City is able to treat and use reclaimed water so efficiently because of an advanced distribution system that currently serves more than 300 reclaimed water customers in South Chandler. 

Since its creation in the 1980s, Chandler’s well-engineered system of reclaimed water facilities, pipes and pumps has been uniquely able to keep up with the community’s expanding water needs. 

An Early Picture  

A reclaimed water facility in Chandler ​
A reclaimed water facility in Chandler ​

Before the 1980s, much of South Chandler consisted of farms. However, the entrance of Intel and other communities in the area spurred the region’s rapid growth. 

In the 80s, a group of developers wanted to build out the Ocotillo neighborhood and surrounding areas. They asked the City for the water to do it, but the supply just wasn’t there. 

To encourage development without depleting the City’s precious potable water supply, the reclaimed water system was born. 

A System Built for Growth 

What makes Chandler’s reclaimed water system truly innovative is the way it’s set up in the City code. From the beginning, Chandler has required developments in areas where reclaimed water is accessible (i.e. South Chandler) to install their own “purple pipes” that connect to the reclaimed water supply. 

With proper piping, Chandler developments have easy access to the water to use for approved purposes, such as irrigation, turf management, landscaping and more. You’ll know you see one of these pipes by the color — all reclaimed water pipes in Chandler are purple.

Because Chandler had the foresight to require developers to build reclaimed pipes before they develop, the system was able to grow without costly digging or renovations down the road. 

Today, Chandler’s City Code still requires any development that will include a common area more than five acres that has access to the reclaimed system to use reclaimed water. 

Why Do We Have So Many Lakes in South Chandler?

The lakes at Ocotillo Golf Club are filled with reclaimed water. ​
The lakes at Ocotillo Golf Club are filled with reclaimed water. ​

The lakes are filled with reclaimed water and actually serve an important function to Chandler’s seasonal reclaimed water distribution system. 

In addition to being nice to look at, the lakes serve as short-term storage for reclaimed water to manage shifts in demand for the water.

When customers like HOAs, parks and golf courses have less of a need for reclaimed water, the City stores it in lakes. When demand for water increases, reclaimed customers can pump water directly from lakes to use for irrigation, rather than depleting our precious potable water supply.

Look for the purple valve boxes, sprinkler heads and signs to know you're in an area
Look for the purple valve boxes, sprinkler heads and signs to know you're in an area

Spot the Reclaimed Water in Chandler

How do you recognize areas that utilize reclaimed water? Look for the purple valve boxes, sprinkler heads and signs to know you're in an area making good use of our precious resource.