Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)
Learn more about the 66 inch drought pipeline project and the 48-inch rehab/replacement pipeline project.
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 approximately 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 city 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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question 8: Where can I find more information on water Capital Improvement Projects in my neighborhood?
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.
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