Brief History of Carefree Water Company
Carefree Water Company was incorporated in September of 1957 to provide domestic water services to approximately 3,400 acres. The water supply for the Water Company was provided by groundwater from wells and a CAP allocation of 400 Acre Feet. In 1989 as part of the agreement to sell the Water Company infrastructure that was physically located within the city limits of Scottsdale to the City of Scottsdale an agreement was made for the City of Scottsdale to transport and treat 2,000 Acre Feet of CAP allocated water on behalf of Carefree Water Company.
In the mid 1980’s, the Arizona Department of Water Resources declared the Carefree/Cave Creek Aquifer a critical aquifer and discontinued issuing groundwater-based Certificates of Assured Water Supply, basically stopping any additional development or building in the Town. Due to major, annual groundwater level declines during this period it became evident that the continued over pumping of the aquifer would totally deplete the aquifer and another source of water needed to be utilized in addressing the existing and future needs of Carefree. Carefree Water was unable or unwilling to use the 400 acre feet of CAP allocated water until the mid 1990’s and then only in small amounts, in the summer, to meet water demands which cause continuing demands . It became apparent to the Town officials that unless the Water Company began using their CAP allocated water the future of the Town to develop as originally planned was at great risk because of the lack of a sustainable potable water supply. In 1997 the Town of Carefree and the stockholders of the Water Company agreed to purchase/sell the Utility Company. After forming a Utility Facilities District and securing bonding to purchase the Utility the sale became reality at the end of 1999.
Since that time, the Water Company has secured an additional 900 acre foot of CAP water allocation and has reduced groundwater pumping by increasing CAP water usage up to almost 60% of the water supplied to our customers. It is now anticipated that there is sufficient water to totally develop the Town of Carefree through build out. As anticipated with the reduction in groundwater pumping the aquifer is now starting to refill as the water level in the aquifer is beginning to increase. The water Company has also completed many improvements to the storage and distribution system subsequent to the purchase. We have completed construction of a new 1,000,000 water storage reservoir, water wells have been upgraded to supply water in cases of emergency, emergency electrical generators have been installed on wells and pumping stations and an agreement has been finalized with the Desert Forest Golf Club to exchange water from their well for water from one of our wells which exceeds the drinking water standard for Arsenic. This has allowed using the highest quality water from the aquifer for potable purposes and the lower quality water for golf course use. We have also reached agreements with Cave Creek Water to supply us with CAP water as an additional, alternative source of water supply and to provide them backup up assistance if and when needed by making various connections between the two systems that did not exist in the past.
One of the other purposes for the purchase of the Water Company was to address the issue of fire protection which was not required under the previous ownership. We have added over 200 fire hydrants and have a continuing program of upgrading the distribution system to be able to handle the water flows to planned additional fire hydrant installations.
In the past ten years we have been involved in an ever increasing drought in the Southwest causing the Utility Company and the State of Arizona to recognize the need to increase our planning and actions relating to conservation. These efforts include the dissemination of educational materials including emphasis on low water using plants and desert landscaping as well as a continuing effort on a comprehensive plan to address the complex water issues facing us all.