May 13 2019Share

Infrastructure: Building Beyond Tomorrow

By Warren Tenney

Our economy, communities, and families all depend on infrastructure. It’s personal. No matter where you live, your age, your education, if you drive a car, peddle a bike or take the bus, infrastructure has a profound impact on your daily life. We all have to get around. We all need lights to come on.  And we certainly need water to come out of the tap. Infrastructure – literally – unites the United States of America.  To highlight the importance of the vast infrastructure that exists here in the Valley as well as from coast to coast, we celebrate National Infrastructure Week.

Here in Central Arizona we are proud that water runs to homes and businesses every day of the year. This is because the pipes, pumps, valves, tanks and meters it takes to deliver water are regularly maintained, repaired and, when needed, replaced by dedicated water professionals. That infrastructure is vital to keeping all of our cities operating and for the delivery of water to your homes, schools and businesses.

The AMWUA cities are responsible for providing water to more than half of the State’s population, which is no small feat. The infrastructure which exists in each of the cities is unique and vast. Let’s take a look.

AVONDALE - Home to more than 84,000 residents, Avondale maintains 328 miles of water lines, 326 miles of wastewater lines, 2,721 fire hydrants, 23,499 water meters and operates three water treatment plants and one wastewater treatment plant.

CHANDLER - With more than 260,000 residents, Chandler maintains two water treatment plants and 1,230 miles of potable water lines. The City has 16,096 fire hydrants, nearly 84,000 meters, 1,015 miles of wastewater lines and operates three wastewater treatment plants.

GILBERT - With nearly 247,000 residents, Gilbert maintains two water treatment plants, two wastewater treatment plants, 1,333 miles of water lines, 990 miles of wastewater lines, 83,055 water meters, and 12,578 fire hydrants.

GLENDALE - With a population of about 246,000, Glendale maintains and operates four water treatment plants, two wastewater treatment plants, 1,040 miles of water lines, 703 miles of wastewater lines, 8,400 fire hydrants, and 62,600 water meters.

GOODYEAR - With a population of 78,000 residents, Goodyear has four water treatment plants, three wastewater treatment plants, 327 miles of water lines, 254 miles of wastewater lines, 3,228 fire hydrants, and 18,994 water meters.

MESA - Providing water to 501,137 residents, Mesa maintains and operates two water treatment plants, three wastewater treatment plants, 2,450 miles of water lines, 1,750 miles of wastewater lines, 20,248 fire hydrants, and 149,410 water meters.

PEORIA - Serving 171,700 residents, Peoria has two water treatment plants, three wastewater treatment plants, 1,179 miles of water lines, 789 miles of wastewater lines, 10,093 fire hydrants, and 59,105 water meters.

PHOENIX - With a population of 1.6 million and handling wastewater treatment operations for 2.5 million residents in five cities, Phoenix’s vast infrastructure includes 7,000 miles of water lines, 5,000 miles of sewer lines, eight treatment plants, dozens of pump stations, reservoirs and wells, 50,000 fire hydrants, and more than 420,000 water meters.

SCOTTSDALE - With a population of almost 250,000, Scottsdale delivers water through 2,000 miles of pipes and maintains more than 10,000 fire hydrants and 91,000 meters. Its wastewater system comprises 1,400 miles of lines and more than 40 lift stations.

TEMPE - Serving over 182,500 residents and an additional 80,000 students when Arizona State University is in session, Tempe’s infrastructure includes two water treatment plants, 846 miles of water lines, 579 miles of wastewater lines, 8,982 fire hydrants, 43,231 meters, and one wastewater treatment plant.

Their collective infrastructure consists of 30 water treatment plants, over 18,000 miles of water lines, 142,000 fire hydrants and more than one million water meters.  All of which highlights the extent of the infrastructure that is needed to deliver water every day of the year.  However, those totals represent the water infrastructure for the residents and businesses served by the AMWUA cities.  If you imagine the extent of water infrastructure that is needed across the entire Valley and for the rest of Arizona, you gain an appreciation for how critical infrastructure truly is.

Infrastructure is a continual priority for the AMWUA cities, and all water providers. This includes making the financial commitment to invest in the maintenance, replacement, and expansion of their water infrastructure.  And just like all types of infrastructure which see daily use – transportation through air, rail, roadways and across bridges, telecommunications and other utilities such as power – they deteriorate and must be replaced. Maintaining aging and expansive water distribution and collections systems is a constant and growing expense for your city. Across the United States, it is no different.

Infrastructure Week is a national week of advocacy and education that brings together business, labor, and elected leaders to spotlight the need to revitalize, modernize, and invest in infrastructure.  We can make our communities stronger, grow our economy, and improve our quality of life if we continue to build for not only tomorrow, but for generations to come.

For 50 years, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit

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