CAWCD authorizes Agreement Regarding Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan Obligations

The Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board of Directors (CAWCD) convened for a special board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 31. The sole agenda item was Discussion and Possible Consideration of Action Regarding Term Sheets and Draft Agreements Relating to Drought Contingency Planning (DCP) Issues, Including Mitigation, ICS and Signature.

The board heard presentations by CAP’s General Counsel Jay Johnson and CAP’s Water Policy Director Suzanne Ticknor regarding proposed agreements and status, specifically the CAWCD-US agreement and the AZ ICS Framework Agreement.

The agreement for consideration by the CAWCD board was the “Agreement Regarding Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan Obligations” related to the signing of documents. This involves an “intra-state” agreement between CAWCD and the federal government to ensure the obligations of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan (LBDCP) agreement that relate to the United States-CAWCD Master Repayment contract are carried out. The agreement language is acceptable to all LBDCP parties and the Upper Basin does not object.

The board voted unanimously to authorize the CAWCD Board President to execute the Agreement Regarding Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan Obligations, in a form substantively similar to that presented to the Board during Johnson’s presentation.

CAWCD Board President Lisa Atkins took a few moments to thank the stakeholders and board members who attended and participated in the DCP Steering committee process.

“Arizona has faced water challenges throughout its history and has always met and successfully dealt with these challenges, led by leaders with vision and courage,” she said. “I am very proud to say the CAP Board and staff have been a key part of the DCP conversation from the beginning and have participated in a great deal of collaborative work to develop proposals and solutions. We are proud to have participated in developing DCP and we look forward to a continuing role in helping address Arizona’s water challenges in the future.”

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

  • 1/24/19 - Approved the AZDCP Implementation Plan legislative package language and supported the resolution
  • 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.

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.