​​​ Drought Pipeline Project Drought Pipeline Project  

​Drought Pipeline Project -​​ FAQ

Learn more about the 66 inch drought pipeline project and the 48-inch rehab/replacement pipeline project.

Download the FAQs below as a pdf document - Updated June 25, 2021

Question 1: What is the Phoenix Drought Pipeline Project?

Answer: The Drought Pipeline Project is essential to the economic health and vitality of Phoenix. This project will ensure all residents have access to safe, reliable, clean drinking water during future times of shortage on the Colorado River.​

As part of this project, the city will update and replace existing infrastructure and install new infrastructure needed to serve all customers, no matter where they live or work in the city's service area.

At this time, there are two independent, but related, pipeline projects in the neighborhood near 20th​ Street and Lincoln Drive and the Preserve. The first project is the immediate rehab/replacement of an existing 48-inch water pipe. The second project is the installation of a 66-inch water pipeline. ​

Question 2: What does the project entail?

Answer: The Drought Pipeline Project has multiple phases with several projects slated for each phase. Phoenix Water will rehabilitate/replace an existing 48” pipeline, install a 66” pipeline, and make upgrades and improvements to the 24th St. Water Treatment Plant. The project begins near 20th Street and Maryland Avenue and will culminate at 32nd Street and Bell Road. Construction, start to finish, will take approximate​ly three years.​ However, impacts to individual neighborhoods will be much shorter, depending on the phase of construction.

Question 3: What is the 48-inch Pipeline Project?

Answer: This project is the rehabilitation, replacement, and relocation of an existing 48-inch pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipeline originally installed in 1974, that is showing evidence of radial instability and near/imminent failure. Phoenix City Council has already approved the design and construction contracts for this pipeline, and construction is expected to begin in March 2020.

In 2003, Phoenix Water began its transmission main assessment program with a focus on assessing all 160 miles of prestressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP) in its system.  To date, the c​ity has assessed more than half of its PCCP and has established a program to complete the assessment of all PCCP before 2030.  In May 2018, an inspection of the 48-inch main from the 24th Street Water Treatment Plant to 26th Street and Shea Boulevard identified pipes with longitudinal cracking.  Longitudinal cracks are evidence of radial instability and are indicative of near/imminent failure (see below photos). The assessment concluded that this section of 48” pipe is “the most distressed inspected [PCCP Main] in the City of Phoenix distribution system.”​

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More detail on City Council Approvals: On May 16, 2018 the Phoenix City Council authorized staff to enter into contracts for evaluation, design services, construction administration and inspection services, as well as construction manager at risk design phase services for relocation and rehabilitation of the 48-inch pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipeline that runs through the neighborhood and Preserve. On September 18, 2019 the Phoenix City Council authorized staff to enter into a contract for construction manager at risk construction services for the relocation and rehabilitation of the existing 48-inch pipeline.  

Question 4: What is the 66-inch Pipeline Project?

Answer: This project is the construction and installation of a new pipeline from the 24th Street Water Treatment Plant to 32nd Street and Bell Road. This pipeline allows the city to deliver Salt and Verde River water to areas of North Phoenix that are currently entirely dependent on Colorado River water. This project is expected to begin construction in fall 2020. 

On January 29, 2020, the Phoenix City Council unanimously approved an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) for permanent use of a right-of-way next to the SR-51 freeway as an alternative route for the 66-inch pipeline. This new alignment would head north from Myrtle Avenue up 20th Street to Orangewood, and then follow the ADOT right-of-way along State Route 51 to the preserve boundary. If this purchase happens, there will be no construction on 22nd Street for the 66-inch pipeline. This proposed route would also mean that Phoenix Water would not need to go through the Phoenix Mountain Preserve at 22nd Street. However, Phoenix Water will still be installing the pipeline in the preserve along State Route 51 up through the Dreamy Draw Road alignment. At this point, Phoenix Water would still need to go further into the preserve under the existing and previously disturbed bike path to avoid the dam located in this area. 

Details on City Council Approvals:​ On October 3, 2018 the Phoenix City Council authorized staff to enter into a contract for program management and possible construction administration and inspection services for the 66-inch pipeline project. On December 5, 2018 the Phoenix City Council authorized staff to enter into six contracts related to the 66-inch pipeline project for construction manager at risk preconstruction services as well as design and construction administration and inspection services.

Question 5: How is it being funded?

Answer: At nearly $300 million, the Drought Pipeline Project is the largest Capital Improvement Project Phoenix Water will fund with revenue generated from the 2019/2020 Phoenix City Council approved water rate increase.

Question 6: How is the city addressing traffic?

Answer: Phoenix Water will use various methods to inform the public about traffic restrictions, such as construction notices, street signs, electronic sign messaging, construction flaggers, the Phoenix Water website, and the Phoenix Streets Transportation Department website.​ Phoenix Water will repave the streets where construction work occurs. Any landscaping impacted during construction will be replaced.

Question 7: Will I know about these potential impacts?

Answer: Residents can learn more about potential construction impacts by attending future open houses and public meetings (see Community Outreach section). Construction notices will be sent to residents ahead of construction, and signage will be posted in the area. A 24-hour construction hotline number is available at 602-235-2666. Residents can also visit Phoenix.gov/water or email questions to waterworks@phoenix.gov.​​​​

Question 8: Where can I find more information on water Capital Improvement Projects in my neighborhood​?

Answer: Phoenix.gov/WaterWorks​ ​​​

Question 9: Will the 32nd St and 51 exit be closed at all during construction and if so, how long??

Answer: The intersection will not be closed due to this project, however there will be restrictions on 32nd St and Northern Ave approaching the SR51 intersection.​

Question 10: Will the new pipeline improve resident water pressure?

Answer: Normal water pressure is not expected to change. Any anticipated water outages will be announced ahead of time to those impacted.

Question 11​​: Why aren’t we implementing drought restrictions for Phoenix residents?

Answer: We have seen our customers respond to conservation efforts over the past 20 years. It is part of our culture and in a desert that is extremely important. Phoenix Water has a water conservation and education program that anyone can learn more about at phoenix.gov/water. Conservation alone and even severe restrictions would not allow us to serve North Phoenix with water if our Colorado River Water Supply was cut, which is why we need to build the infrastructure to move more water north.​

​Question 12: What are the improvements being made at Dreamy Draw Park?

Answer: Parks was already planning on renovating the aging Dreamy Draw Park but when the design and  timeline for the Water Department's pipeline project was determined Parks moved the park project timeline up so that the projects ran concurrently and reduced the length of the closure to the public.  

At the end of the projects in the Fall of 2022 the bike path route will be re-established with a new paved surface as well as the addition of an adjacent natural surface walking path that can be utilized by hikers/walkers and actually free up some of the traffic on the bike route.  Parks is revamping and relocating the current Dreamy Draw Park restrooms to allow a better connectivity with the paved bike route and will have a shaded seating area with water fountain.  The City is also exploring the addition of a bike repair station that would be located at the restrooms. 

Question 13: I use Dreamy Draw bike path to commute by bicycle. What are nearby alternative route options?

Answer: The closest and most direct alternative bike route is to utilize Cave Creek Road to the west or use a variety of street routes to the East to navigate around the temporary disruption. Street Transportation Bike Map (phoenix.gov)

Question 14: Is the 32nd Street and Lincoln Trailhead Open?

Answer: Yes. Trails to the east of Dreamy Draw Park are open, and Trail 100 will remain open to provide connectivity from the west side of SR 51 to those eastern trails. The closure area is limited to essentially along the east side of the SR 51 sound wall between Glendale Avenue and 32nd Street.

Question 15:  How are you minimizing environmental disturbances in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve?

Answer: Were are taking the following steps to minimize environmental disturbances -

  • Adequate water usage to ensure dust opacity is at zero

  • Open trenches are protected by fencing and fence netting to keep tortoises from coming into work areas.

  • Plants / Cacti / Trees that can be protected rather than moved are identified during operations. This gives the plant a better survival chance.

  • Work areas / Equipment / Personal vehicles are all inspected before use to ensure no tortoises or animals will be impacted nor harmed.​

We Welcome Questions and Comments!

Sign Up button for citizens South of the Phoenix mountain preserve project areaSign Up button for citizens North of the Phoenix mountain preserve project area

​• Call us at 602-235-2666
• Email WaterWorks@Phoenix.gov

Note when you submit an email it falls under the city's policy which states that the email message is: (1) subject to public disclosure under the Public Records Law, (2) is not private or confidential and (3) is retained for 90 days. ​