CAWCD first agency to formally support legislation to implement DCP in Arizona

The Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board of Directors (CAWCD) convened for a special board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 24. The primary agenda items were: 1) Discussion and Consideration of Action on Drought Contingency Planning Draft Legislation; and 2) Discussion and Possible Consideration of Action Regarding Term Sheets and Draft Agreements Relating to Proposed Legislation Related to the Drought Contingency Planning Issues, Including Mitigation, ICS and Signature.

The board heard a presentation by Jeff Gray, CAP legislative affairs manager, regarding the key provisions of the draft DCP legislative package and resolution. The key provisions are:

  1. Authorization for Arizona Water Banking Authority to exchange some of its existing credits between Active Management Areas (AMAs) and long-term storage credits (LTSC) transfer fee waiver
  2. Increase accrual of LTSCs for managed recharge from 50% to 95%, allowing those credits to be applied to assured water supply determinations and extending ability to accrue LTSC for effluent beyond 2025
  3. Limited repeal of “Water BUD”
  4. Groundwater & Irrigation Efficiency Project Fund
  5. Arizona System Conservation Fund
  6. ADWR Legislative Resolution, per ARS 45-106

The board voted (11-1 with one abstention) to approve the legislative package language and (13-0) to support the resolution.

“At last, it seems we are in the final lap of what has been a three-year race toward an Arizona Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan,” says Lisa Atkins, CAWCD board president. “Since 2016, the Board has been a consistent leader in championing DCP, adopting resolutions, approving water and funding resources for mitigation, communicating via public presentations, participation in panel discussions and op-eds, and much more, demonstrating our support and commitment to DCP and that we are willing to put our resources forward to help implement it.”

Today’s actions added to the following recent CAWCD board authorizations regarding the Drought Contingency Plan:

  • 1/3/19 - Authorized a commitment of up to $5 million in ad valorem taxes for the CAP Ag Pool Groundwater Infrastructure and Efficiency Program, subject to participation by other non-federal cost share partners and the development of a definitive program proposal that incorporates the need for recovery infrastructure
  • 12/6/18 – Approved the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan and directed the CAWCD board president to execute the appropriate agreements and supported key elements of the AZDCP Implementation Plan presented at the Nov. 29 AZDCP Steering Committee meeting
  • 11/15/18 - Expressed support through a resolution that included the following:
    • Utilization of CAP water resources of up to 400,000 acre-feet of CAP ICS in Lake Mead and up to 50,000 acre-feet of CAP Project Water in Lake Pleasant, while maximizing opportunities to maintain CAP ICS Water
    • Creation of a compensated conservation program to obtain necessary quantities of water for mitigation purposes, up to 250,000 acre-feet and a cost of up to $60 million to be included in CAP Fixed OM&R rates
    • Support for development of separate programs for groundwater infrastructure and system efficiencies for CAP Ag Districts in cooperation with the United States, the State of Arizona, the Ag districts, tribes and others.
    • The CAP board delegates and the general manager to bring the interim Mitigation Plan proposal to the AZ LBDCP Steering Committee and to continue to negotiate a mitigation plan within the general parameters of the Interim Plan Proposal.
    • At the CAWCD Dec. 6 board meeting --
    • At the CAWCD Jan. 3 2019 board meeting -- Authorized a commitment of up to $5 million in ad valorem taxes for the CAP Ag Pool Groundwater Infrastructure and Efficiency Program, subject to participation by other non-federal cost share partners and the development of a definitive program proposal that incorporates the need for recovery infrastructure.


The Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) Board of Directors is a popularly elected, 15-member board. Ten members are from Maricopa County, four from Pima County and one from Pinal. Members serve six-year, unpaid terms. The board typically meets publicly the first Thursday of each month to establish policy and set rates and taxes for Central Arizona Project.

For more information on the role of the CAWCD board and its current activities, visit www.cap-az.com/board. For additional details on the Jan. 24 board meeting, take a look at the agenda.