20 YEARS: Grow with the flow

Global Water a key partner in Maricopa’s growth


Arizona, Pinal County and Maricopa are unique — we all know that.
How do we make cities sprout on land that is inhospitable, arid and unforgiving?
In Maricopa’s case, it meant partnering with a leading utility that provides the water supply needed to make a city thrive.

Let’s face it — Maricopa would not have grown its 2,000 residents at the time of incorporation in 2003 to more than 70,000 residents today without a stable and assured supply of quality water. Global Water helped the city provide citizens with that supply for two decades.

Achieving that goal wasn’t always easy.

When Global Water launched in 2003, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality almost immediately beseeched it to step in and assist — and eventually acquire — the city’s previous water utility, which provided lower-quality water high in nitrates. That company had contracts with several large developers to provide water but had not put the necessary infrastructure in place.

“The early years for us in Maricopa were quite busy,” said Global Water’s vice president and general manager, Jon Corwin. “The city went from not much at all to explosive growth, and that caused quite a few issues. As a company, we were doing everything we could to stay out in front, create a master plan and lay out the city’s water future.”

Today, Corwin said Global Water recycles about 10.5 billion gallons of Maricopa’s water per year through an extensive network designed and developed to save precious groundwater. The company processes about 4 million gallons of wastewater every day, transforming it into top-class water for use in lakes, residential common areas and irrigation, meaning residents do not have to use valuable potable water for such purposes.

“There is no need for grass to be watered with potable water,” Corwin said.

The company never stopped expanding and upgrading capacity in Maricopa. The city’s wastewater treatment facility, located behind Global Water’s offices near The Lakes at Rancho El Dorado, has gone through several expansions, including the construction of a water distribution center in Rancho Mirage. New wells were drilled and brought online around the city.

Large water and wastewater line extensions were also added to accommodate the city’s growth. Because every new subdivision needs water, developers build the infrastructure and hand it over to Global Water as part of a development agreement, with Global providing the water mains and lines.

Global Water now serves about 55,000 connections (both potable and wastewater) to about 26,000 homes in Maricopa. Corwin said the company positioned itself and the city to keep taps running in the future through strategic planning.

“Pinal County has stopped issuing certificates of assured water supply,” Corwin said.
Global Water had the foresight to guarantee a century’s water supply — 22,000 acre-feet of water.

“We are well-positioned for the short- and long-term future,” Corwin said. “And since the city currently is using only about 8,000 acre-feet of that supply, there is plenty of room for continued growth.”

Corwin said supply will support a population of about 200,000 people, meaning even as the city continues its exponential growth, Maricopa’s water needs will be covered well into the future.

“That supply allows the city to continue to build homes and bring in commercial development because it allows us to provide water for those things to continue,” Corwin said, adding infrastructure will be a key issue for the company and the city moving forward.

“We have to make sure we plan appropriately to stay in front of the growth we know is coming,” he said. “You can’t build new buildings without that in place. We look out into the future and determine what the needs of the city will be.”

Moving forward, the key to sustaining success is Global Water’s symbiotic relationship with the city of Maricopa.

“That relationship really allows us to stay in lockstep, know what’s coming our way and stay in front of it,” Corwin said. “We don’t want to be the bottleneck that prevents growth or development opportunities from happening.”

With growth in Maricopa showing few signs of slowing, it’s good to know the city’s water utility has a strong vision for both the present and future.

The October edition of InMaricopa Magazine is in Maricopa mailboxes and available online.