Tempe Plans to Reopen Long Dormant Water Reclamation Plant Amid Grinding Drought

The Kyrene Water Reclamation Facility, built in the late 1980s and closed by budget cuts in 2010, is being brought back online as a part of Tempe’s response to the ongoing drought. The plant will collect and recycle wastewater, used mainly to recharge aquifers beneath the city.

The announcement comes as Arizona experiences abnormally dry conditions, with 23% of the state in severe drought, a term used to describe conditions where water and feed are inadequate for livestock, fire danger is high and little forage remains for wildlife, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System. In fact, the drought that has gripped Arizona since 2000 has been the driest in more than 1,200 years, and it’s expected to persist in the near future, according to a study by Nature Climate Change.

California Water Agencies Cope With Diminishing Water Supply

As of Spring 2022, National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) data show nearly 70 percent of the lower 48 U.S. states in drought, affecting more than 100 million residents.

California in particular is facing a deepening water crisis, with over 93 percent of the state experiencing extreme drought. 2022 is the state’s driest year on record for the past 128 years, while 58 counties in the state are currently under a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster designation.

A ‘Thirsty’ Atmosphere is Propelling Northern California’s Drought Into the Record Books

Increasing evaporative demand is escalating summertime drought severity in California and the West, according to climate researchers.

Evaporative demand is essentially the atmosphere’s “thirst.” It is calculated based on temperature, humidity, wind speed and solar radiation. It’s the sum of evaporation and transpiration from plants, and it’s driven by warmer global temperatures, which can be attributed to climate change.