Gilbert Town Council candidates discuss the water shortage

The nine Gilbert Town Council candidates share their thoughts on the water shortage and possible solutions

Posted 12/31/69

What policies or practices should Gilbert adopt to aid in addressing the worsening water shortage on the Colorado River watershed? 

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Gilbert Town Council candidates discuss the water shortage

The nine Gilbert Town Council candidates share their thoughts on the water shortage and possible solutions


What policies or practices should Gilbert adopt to aid in addressing the worsening water shortage on the Colorado River watershed? 

Chuck Bongiovanni, co-founder and CEO of Majestic Residences Franchise Systems 

"The biggest thing we can do is to continue to be at the table and actively involved with surrounding cities. Once a game plan is established, we have to lead the other cities in its implementation. This is a very serious issue. It may lead to us evaluating our 'green belts' in some of our parks and along roadways. We also need to consider what kinds of trees and plants are being planted in new developments and make sure we are fully taking advantage of rainwater, grey water or recycled water policies to stretch our water uses."

Bobbi Buchli, real estate broker 

"Gilbert should continue with its current plan of preparing for any shortage and conserving water. According to Gilbert's website, the current shortage is a Tier 1 and Gilbert is OK for 2022. Gilbert has invested over the years in a water portfolio with water from Colorado, Salt and Verde rivers and also has ground water and reclaimed water. Gilbert has other investments in its infrastructure, underground storage and conservation along with a water allocation policy. Gilbert also offers residents education on conserving water. All combined will help with Gilbert taking less water from the Colorado River and the water storage."

Mario Chicas, account representative 

"The state of Arizona has done a good job of preparing for water shortage. The state of Arizona has helped us prepare for years to come. Before we ask residents to make any water sacrifices, the town must go first. As we build out, we can look at what options we have instead of grass and promote low water use landscaping like artificial grass. Basically, we, the government should try to do its part before we ask residents to take any drastic measures."

Michael Clark, president of Digital Illustrations LLC & AW Sales LLC 

"Water conservation and storage will always be an issue. Public Works is earning water credits. Gilbert is constantly pumping water underground for when we need it. Gilbert is building more water storage tanks. Work with developers and new CC&R's of communities to plan low use water landscaping. Example, Flagstaff homes rarely have grass in the yards. Flagstaff recognized water was limited and set rules to protect unnecessary water use. Idea: pool water is usually completely emptied every few years. When residents empty their pool, we collect thousands of gallons. The pool water filtered and used for irrigation water ... not drinking water."

Yung Koprowski, civil engineer, council member

"29% of Gilbert’s water supply comes from the Colorado River, which is currently in a Tier 1 shortage. Gilbert has prepared for scenarios like this, and there will be no interruptions to service or immediate cutbacks. Conditions are changing quickly and deeper shortages are predicted sooner. It is likely we will hit Tier 2A and 2B shortages within 18 months. The town provides several tools and resources to help at www.gilbertaz.gov/departments/public-works/water-conservation. If the town’s annual budget is passed, there will be rebates available this Fall for the implementation of smart water irrigation systems."

Bus Obayomi, management consultant

"We want to have water that sustains our area. Gilbert has been leading in water conservation. We do have a system to make sure we have recycled water and a 100-year plan. Some of our water comes from the Verde and Salt rivers and ensures that is maintained as well. There is a concern on restricting the water use from the Colorado River. We need to make sure we continue to partner with neighboring states and neighboring towns to make sure everybody has access to water. That includes making sure we are working with the right experts and enough data to work with before any policy or action is taken."

Scott September, regional manager, council member

Thankfully, the majority of Gilbert’s water comes from the Salt and Verde River Watershed and groundwater sources. Less than 30% comes from the Colorado River. Gilbert has been carefully planning its long-term water goals for decades and has a robust and diversified water portfolio. In recent years we have made investments in our water infrastructure and increased our underground water storage capacity and reclaimed wastewater usage to include golf courses, HOAs, and town parks. We still need to be good stewards with the water we have so please check out gilbertaz.gov/waterconservation.com for more information on how you can help."

Bill Spence, retired U.S. Navy nuclear engineering officer

"I believe that water management is one of the top legislative issues facing our state this year. Gilbert already does several things to conserve and manage water such as watering parks from reclaimed water sources. Our direct responsibility to the town is to provide safe drinking water, and our recent investments in upgrades to our northern water treatment facility with help improve our treated water services to residents. The next step is for Gilbert to have a voice in the development of agreements and legislation that will be required to address the bigger issues. This is a big problem that will require a major effort by our state legislature to solve."

Jim Torgeson, owner Mesa Sign Shop

"Gilbert has done a fairly good job in regards to water planning. Unfortunately, we are truly at the mercy of five tribes in regards to what will happen along with California who will certainly be suing to gain a higher percentage based upon the 'need' clause we have with the tribes involved. Love him or hate him, John McCain was our water champion. We must become active to retain our rights. Facilitating grey water systems in new builds and promoting low water use landscaping will help. We must make low use and reuse desirable for sustainability."

Gilbert elections, Gilbert Town Council, Chuck Bongiovanni, Bobbi Buchli, Mario Chicas, Michael Clark, Yung Koprowski, Scott September, Bill Spence, Jim Torgeson