You may not know your City government proudly operates two businesses of national renown: our Scottsdale Water and Scottsdale Airport “enterprises”…and neither of them require taxpayer funding!
Brian Biesemeyer, Director of Scottsdale Water, and his 215 employees manage a business with revenues of more than $150 million. Their goal is to supply you with safe, reliable drinking water every day of the year, whenever you need it. Quality is a big deal! Over 10,000 tests are performed annually on your drinking water to ensure the water you are drinking meets or surpasses the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, 66 continuous, online analyzers monitor the drinking water throughout our distribution system and water treatment plants.
Water is a precious resource for our desert community. In addition to working to ensure your water is safe, Scottsdale Water is also dedicated to providing a secure and sustainable water supply for today and the future. Scottsdale was the first city in Arizona to meet “safe yield” – putting more water in the aquifer than we take out – and has been doing so every year since 2006, nearly 20 years ahead of the state-mandated deadline to do so.
Insuring adequacy of supply is a responsibility where Scottsdale Water excels. Up until the early 1980s, Scottsdale was 100 percent reliant on groundwater for our water supply. Today, 90 percent of our total water supply comes from renewable surface water sources and recycled water, helping ensure a long-term water supply for future generations. Scottsdale’s total water supply includes surface water and groundwater sources, as well as an increasing amount of recycled water.
Scottsdale Water operates one of the most advanced recycled water treatment facilities in the world. Annually, we recycle over 2.5 billion gallons of water for turf irrigation. Since the early 1990s, we have been providing non-potable water to 23 golf courses in north Scottsdale through a public-private partnership known as the Reclaimed Water Distribution System (RWDS). Another 1.5 billion gallons of ultrapure recycled water is returned to Scottsdale’s aquifer, which helps safeguard the long-term viability of our precious groundwater supplies.
Scottsdale Airport, our other enterprise, is one of the premier corporate jet facilities in the state, recording almost 150,000 takeoffs and landings each year. Gary Mascaro, Aviation Director, knows Scottsdale Airport may not generate as much revenue as Scottsdale Water, but he would argue its economic impact may be multiples more.
The airport and its surrounding 2,600-acre Commerce Airpark has become a national model for airport-based business parks and is a major economic asset for the City of Scottsdale. A recent study indicated the airport alone generates more than $182 million annually in revenue to the region’s economy and the combined annual impact of the airport/airpark is approximately $2.5 to $3.0 billion!
Centrally located in Scottsdale’s only industrial-zoned area, the Airport and Commerce Airpark are major sources of employment. Jim Keeley, Founding Partner of Colliers International’s Scottsdale office, remembers 1981 when there were 3,320 employees, 1,580,000 square feet of buildings, and 268 companies in the Airpark. In the mid-80’s, when my wife and I owned Scottsdale Airpark News on Greenway-Hayden Loop, the Airpark was still a development-in-process.
Today, the Commerce Airpark area is headquarters to over 30 national/regional corporations and home to nearly 2,500 small and medium-sized businesses with over 48,000 jobs. The workforce within its boundaries has tripled in the past decade, making it the third largest employment center in the Greater Phoenix region. By 2030, Keeley predicts, the Scottsdale Airpark will be home to 4,000 businesses employing as many as 80,000 workers.
The City of Scottsdale is known as a community where quality of life and economic progress are synonymous. These two City-owned and -operated businesses – which citizens rarely talk about – make an out-sized contribution to your City’s enviable reputation.