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The Central Arizona Project Board of Directors today approved an historic agreement between the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) and the City of Tucson to better manage Colorado River Water recharged in Pima County. Over a 20 to 25-year period, CAGRD will purchase a total of 100,000 acre-feet of long-term storage credits (LTSC) from Tucson, and can purchase up to 5,000 acre-feet per year.
Tucson generated the credits by storing renewable water supplies, including CAP water and reclaimed water, at several recharge facilities north of Tucson. The recharge facilities and stored water are located outside of the city's water services area. As a result, Tucson is unable to economically recover and directly utilize the LTSC. The stored water is, in effect, stranded.
"The transaction allows the City to optimize its water portfolio by replacing stranded water located outside of our service area with funding for development of local water resources and infrastructure," stated Tucson Water Director Alan Forrest.
The CAGRD was established in 1993 by the state legislature to serve as a groundwater replenishment entity for its members. It provides a method for property owners and water providers to demonstrate a 100-year assured water supply under Arizona law by agreeing to have the CAGRD recharge amounts of groundwater that are over the limits established by Arizona's Assured Water Supply rules. The CAP Board also serves as the governing body for the CAGRD.
"This agreement is a win-win for Tucson and the CAGRD," stated CAP Board President Pamela Pickard. "The purchase of 100,000 acre-feet of stranded water credits from Tucson provides CAGRD with a dependable supply to serve existing CAGRD members. This influx of credits ensures that the CAGRD can better meet its replenishment obligations in the Tucson region. It's a great example of cooperation which highlights the flexibility and creativity of CAGRD and its members."