Where does our water come from?
Surprise has three available water sources: groundwater, reclaimed water, and Colorado River water (surface water from the Central Arizona Project). Currently, Surprise relies solely on groundwater for drinking water purposes. We also utilize reclaimed water for agricultural and landscape irrigation and some surface water for irrigation purposes.

A groundwater system draws on the large amount of water stored in the underground *aquifer and isn’t immediately impacted by the near term lack of surface water. It is important to note that the city recharges an amount of water back into the underground aquifer that is equal to or greater than its daily consumption and we adhere to the Arizona Groundwater Management Act.

Background on the Arizona Groundwater Management Act (GMA): Groundwater levels in the Phoenix-Mesa metropolitan area have been adversely impacted by historic overuse of groundwater.

During the mid 1900’s, many Arizona cities began transitioning from an agricultural to an urban economy, and many policy makers became increasingly concerned about the adequacy of water supplies to support the state’s growth.

After several earlier failed efforts, water users came together to develop a comprehensive groundwater management plan, known as the Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980.

The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) administers and enforces the Groundwater Code. The highest level of management, with the most restrictive provisions, is applied to Active Management Areas (AMAs) where groundwater overdraft historically was most severe. The Phoenix area AMA was established in 1994 and its goal is safe-yield by 2025. Safe-yield is a long-term balance between the amount of groundwater withdrawn in the AMA and the amount of natural and artificial recharge.

The Groundwater Code places restrictions on cities’ use of groundwater, to ensure that they do not pump more groundwater than is naturally replaced or artificially recharged.

*NOTE: An aquifer is an underground layer or water-bearing permeable rock, or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, silt or clay) from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using well water. Water on the surface of the earth slowly percolates through the ground and fills the open spaces between gravel and sand particles, and the cracks and fractures of rocks.

Show All Answers

Q: Who is my water provider?
Q: How do I start / stop my water service?
Q: Who do I call to get my water meter installed?
Q: Who do I call if I think my water meter is reading incorrectly?
Q: Is all water in the City of Surprise chlorinated?
Q: Why does my water taste or smell like chlorine?
Q: Water Conservation Information
Q: Who is my sewer provider?
Q: What do I do if sewage is backing up into my house?
Q: How large is the city’s water system?
Q: Where does our water come from?
Q: Where are the Special Planning Areas (SPA) in Surprise?
Q: How does the "CAGRD" ensure future water supply?
Q: If my home is in the CAGRD, how does it work?
Q: What is McMicken Dam?
Q: What are the regulations that govern the water resources for Surprise?
Q: What is recycled water?
Q: What are the benefits and advantages of recycled water?
Q: What shouldn’t recycled water be used for?
Q: What class of recycled water does Surprise produce and what can it be used for?
Q: Where does Surprise's recycled water go?
Q: Is recycled water safe?
Q: Does recycled water have an odor or does it stain?
Q: What do I need to become an approved/permitted Backflow Tester within the city of Surprise?
Q: Why do I need two test gauges?
Q: Will the Backflow Tester be able to tell the difference between the recycled water devices and the potable water devices?
Q: Where or to whom do we send the backflow test reports?
Q: Do I need to renew my backflow documentation?
Q: If I have any further questions about the Backflow Program, whom can I contact?