Does Tucson Have a Water Problem?

Does Tucson Have a Water Problem


Whether or not Tucson has a water problem comes down to two factors:

  1. Do residents have access to enough water?
  2. Is Tucson water clean?

Do Residents Have Access to Enough Water?

Yes, with water conservation efforts all Tucson residents have access to enough water.

If no conservation efforts were being made, this would not be true.

Where Does Tucson Get Its Water From?

Tucson water comes from the Colorado River via Lake Mead.

Currently, Lake Mead’s levels are historically low putting Tucson’s Drought and Preparedness Plan into effect.

Here is a quick snapshot of Tucson’s water supply:

  • Tucson’s 2022 Supply of Colorado River Water (Acre Feet): 144,191
  • Tucson’s 2022 Projected Demand (Acre Feet): 100,000
  • Projected Water Supply Savings: 44,191 Acre Feet

Continued water conservation is necessary to maintain quality of life in Tucson.

(Source: Tucson Drought Dashboard)

Is Tucson Water Clean?

This poses a much bigger question. Let’s go deeper on it.

Tucson water quality ranks in the high-middle range for contaminants. With a total of 25 contaminants in your drinking water, 7 of them exceed health guidelines.

  • For reference, Miramar, Florida has 75 contaminants. (The most of any U.S. city over 50,000.)

Drinking unfiltered water from Tucson water sources could be hazardous to your health.

Let’s look closer at Tucson water quality.

Water Quality in Tucson

Tucson has a total of 25 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (

28% of contaminants are rated as exceeding health guidelines.

They include things like Arsenic, Chromium, and Uranium.

Most of the contaminants pose a risk of Cancer if allowed to stay in your drinking water.

Lead in Tucson Water

Tucson drinking water has very low levels of lead in it.

90 percent of samples taken from Tucson water sources from 2015 – 2017 had a lead concentration of 1.1 parts per billion (ppb) or less.

For comparison:

  • Lead concentrations of 3.9 ppb to 15 ppb “put a formula-fed baby at risk of elevated blood lead levels.” (
  • El Paso, Texas has lead concentrations up to 84 parts per billion.
  • Portland, Oregon has lead concentrations up to 52.4 parts per billion.
  • The legal limit for lead is 15 ppb. The city is not legally required to mitigate unless levels pass 15 ppb.

There is no safe level of lead for humans.

Here are a few of the lead poisoning symptoms for children under 6:

  1. Abdominal Pain
  2. Developmental Delay
  3. Learning Difficulties
  4. Fatigue
  5. Weight loss
  6. Irritability
  7. Hearing loss

Learn more about Lead Poisoning Symptoms here.

So, What Can You Do?

Information about water quality can be surprising.

There are things you can do today to keep you and your family safe and healthy.

In Your Household:

Use Berkey water filters with activated carbon to filter out 81 percent of contaminants in your drinking water.

(They also remove up to 99% of lead contamination in Tucson water.)

Basic pitchers like Brita can filter 32%. Brita Longlast filters and faucet filters remove even more contaminants including Lead.

Save money on new and replacement filters when you use the links at

Tucson Water Filtration Systems

A whole house filtration system can filter out 21 of 25 contaminants, or 84 percent, making it another effective choice.

A few things to note:

  • Whole house systems are much more effective than water pitchers like Brita and PUR.
  • However, the initial cost is higher and they require installation.

For a list of the contaminants that can be filtered out by a whole house system, go to Tucson’s Water Quality page.

To filter out the highest number of contaminants, use our recommendations on the WaterBadge Filters page:

Conclusion: Does Tucson Have a Water Problem?

Yes. In terms of total water supply and water quality, Tucson is at risk.

Water conservation efforts currently underway should be continued.

Home filters should continue to be used to protect your family’s health.

Filtering your water can save you and your loved ones from health problems later.

You deserve to feel safe when you drink your own tap water.

To support this mission, we’ve partnered with companies that are dedicated to water filtration and safety.

When you purchase filters and systems through them, you’re also supporting WaterBadge’s mission of cleaner water for everyone.

Thanks for doing your part.

Want to learn more about water quality around the U.S.?

Search for your city here:

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