New water tanks already showing their benefits

By Curtis Riggs | June 11, 2008

CAVE CREEK – Water officials in the Desert Foothills communities are lauding the benefits of Cave Creek’s new water storage tanks even though cooler temperatures have delayed the high-use water season for at least a month.

Local fire officials were the first to see the benefits of the new 1.2-million gallon Neary storage tank on Hidden Valley Drive when they had sufficient water pressure to extinguish a fire on Ootam Road on May 21.

Last week Carefree Water Company General Manager Stan Francom talked about how Carefree is benefitting from the new Neary tank and the 2-million gallon Rockaway Hills storage tank while discussing delivery of Carefree’s annual Central Arizona Project (CAP) allocation. Carefree has been receiving all of its annual 1,350 acre-foot CAP allocation through the Scottsdale water system since Cave Creek acquired the old Cave Creek Water Company last year. Cave Creek had trouble delivering the CAP water while it was dealing with its own storage issues.

Carefree prefers to have its CAP water delivered from Cave Creek instead of Scottsdale because the Cave Creek delivery rate is cheaper.

“Since they have the new tanks Cave Creek has been able to provide us with water for the last 15-20 days,” Francom told the Board of Directors of the Carefree Water Company, the Carefree Town Council, last week. “Now that they have the new tanks they think they can provide us with water, although the situation could be iffy until they upgrade the system from the CAP Canal.”

Carefree has a contract with Cave Creek to deliver 300 acre-feet of CAP water every year. Both Cave Creek Utilities Manager Jessica Marlow and Francom say most of the annual CAP allotment can be delivered through Cave Creek this year.

“We will get it back up that high,” Francom said about the annual CAP water allocation while adding that between 130 and 140 gallons of water a minute can now flow to the Carefree water system from Cave Creek. “Cave Creek is not quite up to speed yet, but they will be.”

Marlow said Cave Creek would only miss the 300 acre-feet mark because Cave Creek delivered no water to Carefree in January and February of this year.

“We started with the new tanks on April 30 and everything has run smoothly ever since,” she said. “Last summer we couldn’t shut down for a few hours to do a line repair, now we can shut down the system for a whole day now that we have the new tanks on line.”

Marlow is confident Cave Creek can avoid the water shortages it experienced early last summer because the new storage tanks are up and running and most of the problems with the Cave Creek water lines and system were made last summer.

“The guys in the field and the water tank operator are confident we will be able to keep up,” she said. “We made several different repairs to the CAP lines last summer. We have not had to re-repair any repair we made last summer.”