Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa City Council voted Oct. 3 to approve payment of a third-installment for irrigation water at Copper Sky.

The $191,750 credit will supply the city’s recreation complex with 500 acre-feet, or almost 163 million gallons, of non-potable water to help keep fields and landscaping green around Copper Sky.

Interim Parks Director Fred Gray said, though he wasn’t around in 2013 when the first agreement was made, he understands that at the time, Global Water lacked the infrastructure or supply to support their need.

Gila River Water Storage LLC, being more established, agreed to step in and provide the city 1,500 acre-feet, which would last until 2015 when the second agreement was made.

According to the agreement, an initial 1,500 acre-feet would be supplied for the first year, with an additional 500 acre-feet coming each year thereafter. The contract, which is set to expire in 2020, set the initial price at $347 per acre-foot, and then increases that number by roughly $20 dollars a year until that expiration date.

When the contract does expire, the city will have paid out just over $1.5 million to Gila River.

At that point, Gray said, the city should open up the bidding process to potentially allow Global Water to gain the business.

“My guess, based on my experience with municipal governments, is that we would be required to look at other options at that point, based on the amount of money that we would be spending,” Gray said.

Being a six-year contract, he added, the city should most likely start looking at those options sometime in the fifth year – 2019.

“If I were going to be the long-term guy, that’s what I would recommend,” Gray said.

Global Water was recently granted a zoning change and permit to move forward with a plant expansion they say will allow them to supply another potential 11,000 customers. It is, however, unclear at this point if the utility plans to seek out the city’s business when the contract does expire.