By Ramanuj Mitra, MS Candidate, ASU School of Sustainability


“Sin City” has a lot to offer both residents and tourists, but this time it was the WaterSmart Innovations 2016 Conference which took me to Las Vegas. This annual event brings together water utilities managers, technology providers, researchers and students from all over the United States to discuss state-of-the-art techniques for water conservation as well as successful policies and water governance. I attended as a student participant, which was made possible by a stroke of luck and a generous donation from the Central Arizona Project (CAP) and the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA). 


There are few elected positions that require a six-year commitment, meet twice a month and provide no compensation. Add to that the responsibility of making policy decisions for the management and delivery of 1.5 million acre-feet of Arizona’s allocation of Colorado River water and you’ve described the extraordinary commitment made by the 15-member Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) Board of Directors. 


Central Arizona Project recently was honored by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) with a 2016 Gold Award for Exceptional Utility Performance. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in implementing nationally recognized Attributes of Effective Utility Management, including product quality, customer satisfaction, employee and leadership development, operational optimization, financial viability, community sustainability, operational resiliency, infrastructure stability, stakeholder understanding and support and water resource adequacy.


Arizona has always been known for its innovative and cooperative water management, and the latest water deal is another example of just that. For the first time in its history, the City of Phoenix has placed an order for its entire entitlement of Central Arizona Project water, but will direct approximately twenty percent of that water to recharge facilities in the Tucson region.


Drought. Overallocation. Structural deficit. Declining water level in Lake Mead. There are many complex water challenges facing the southwest, so CAP has been collaborating with the federal government, partner states and Mexico to address these issues, because it is critical that all Colorado River water users, regardless of state, priority, or use sector work quickly and diligently to protect the river and the communities that rely on its water. 

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