In January 2009, water professionals from Arizona began holding a series of water sustainability workshops with their counterparts in La Paz, Baja California Sur. The Arizona Water Institute originally administered the program. Following the demise of that organization in June 2009, due to State budget reductions, Central Arizona Project (CAP) stepped into that role to ensure the success of the year-long international program.

Baja California Sur area is facing many of the same water supply and use challenges as Arizona. Designed to share information and best practices in a variety of areas, the workshops fostered an extended dialogue and in-depth discussion about programs and actions that promote sustainability of water resources in arid regions. Workshop topics included groundwater management, water planning, conservation, reclaimed water and water quality.

Participation and support from Mexico included Mexico's National Water Commission (CONAGUA), the La Paz Technical Groundwater Committee (COTAS), Niparaja - a non-profit organization dedicated to preservation of the natural heritage of Baja California Sur, several Mexico-based environmental organizations and regional elected officials. Arizona participants represented CAP, Arizona Department of Water Resources, state universities, Tucson and Phoenix area cities, Salt River Project, and numerous engineering, planning and land management firms.

A grant from the International Community Foundation partially funded the series of eight meetings, along with support from many of the participating agencies in Arizona and Mexico.

For more information, contact CAP Binational Projects Manager Placido dos Santos at 520-289-0320 or via e-mail at pdossantos@cap-az.com.

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CAP is the steward of central Arizona's Colorado River water entitlement and a collaborative leader in Arizona's water community. The 336-mile-long CAP system brings about 1.5 million acre-feet of renewable Colorado River water to its customers -- cities, businesses, agriculture and Indian communities -- in Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties. An acre-foot of water is about 326,000 gallons.