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On December 2, 2010, the Central Arizona Project (CAP) Board of Directors approved a plan to ensure that Pima County water providers can reliably receive water available under CAP municipal and industrial (M&I) subcontracts.  The plan follows decades of studies by the Bureau of Reclamation and extensive discussion among Pima County M&I subcontractors.

Because pumping plants along the southern portion of the CAP have only a single discharge line, deliveries must be interrupted for annual scheduled maintenance on the plants. To insure that CAP subcontractors in Pima County can still get all of their scheduled annual water deliveries, CAP has agreed to reserve storage capacity at its two recharge facilities in Pima County.

CAP will reserve nearly 2,300 acre-feet (750 million gallons) of capacity at the Lower Santa Cruz Recharge Project in Marana to ensure reliability for the Towns of Marana and Oro Valley, Flowing Wells Irrigation District and Metro Water. For the City of Tucson and other water providers, CAP will set aside 6,000 acre-feet (nearly 2 billion gallons) of capacity at the Pima Mine Road Recharge Project south of Tucson.  CAP will also work with Tucson to coordinate underground storage activities to maximize the amount of CAP recharge at all regional facilities.

"We are really pleased to have achieved a consensus solution to ensuring water reliability for the Pima County CAP users," said CAP Board Member Carol Zimmerman after the Dec. 2 meeting. "This is a long-awaited and truly significant step toward regional sustainability."

The governing authorities for each of the Tucson-area water providers must still ratify the agreement. An electronic copy of the agreement is available at


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 1.6 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.