Editor’s Note: The CAGRD was created by the Arizona Legislature in 1993 as a special function of CAP. It provides its members a mechanism to demonstrate compliance with the Assured Water Supply Rules. Learn more about CAGRD.
Q: In a nutshell, what do you do for CAP?
A: As a CAGRD Water Supply Program Analyst II, my primary goal is to acquire a diverse renewable water supply portfolio, such as long-term storage credits, effluent, Colorado River and CAP supplies through voluntary, mutually beneficial market-based (cost/benefit analysis) partnerships. CAGRD has executed water supply agreements with cities, towns, private water companies, tribal nations and the federal government in recent years. CAGRD uses these water supplies to replenish or offset the annual excess groundwater used by CAGRD members (which include cities, towns, businesses and homeowners) so that they comply with Arizona’s 100-year Assured Water Supply rules.
Q: How did you get into this line of work?
A: I was employed by the Arizona Department of Water Resources prior to joining CAGRD in 2015. In 2005, I started as a water resource specialist for the Phoenix Active Management Area, primarily dealing with annual reporting intake, data entry and audits. From that position, I became the Compliance Program Manager and ultimately manager of the Recharge/Assured & Adequate Water Supply Programs during my last four years at ADWR.
Q: How does the work you do on a daily basis affect our water supply?
A: I have helped negotiate agreements that allow CAGRD to fulfill its statutory obligation to replenish our members’ excess groundwater with renewable supplies each year. In 2017, CAGRD replenished just over 30,000 acre-feet (AF) with projections of 87,000 AF needed in 2034.
Q: What are some of the technical advances that allow you to do your job more effectively and efficiently?
A: The first thing that comes to mind was the in-house creation of a tablet application utilized during semi-annual field verifications of Yuma Mesa Irrigation & Drainage District (YMIDD) pilot fallowing program. The objective of the YMIDD fallowing program was to develop data and methodologies to quantify the foregone water savings associated with the temporary fallowing of approximately 1,400 acres of previously irrigated agricultural lands south of Yuma. The three-year YMIDD fallowing program successfully demonstrated that 22,000 acre-feet of conserved water was achieved and ultimately retained in Lake Mead to help avoid a shortage. The app proved highly efficient in determining compliance for the 150 or so fields enrolled in the program by having satellite/GIS generated crop data, locational information and data recording at your fingertips. It reduced the three-day long field verifications at the beginning of the project to less than six hours in the final year of verification.
Q: What's the most challenging part of your work?
A: The most challenging, yet instructive, part of my job is the lead-time required between initiating and ultimately completing some water supply acquisitions. Complex water acquisitions can be circuitous in nature requiring years-long technical and field analysis, negotiations with various parties having competing interests and may require both state and federal government approvals before an agreement is finalized.
Q: What's the most gratifying part of your job?
A: The CAGRD water supply program deals with a variety of data points; member enrollments, water supply volumes and annual growth projections to name a few, but this written exercise has allowed me to pause and think about what else these numbers mean. Ultimately, these data points represent millions of people and businesses over many decades choosing Arizona as their home. Having a small part in securing the state’s water future is the most gratifying part of my work.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at CAP?
A: The people make the place! I was fortunate to have worked directly with, or in concert with, several of my current colleagues for many years prior to joining CAGRD. Working with people here has always felt like a combination of a homecoming and a reunion…that you wanted to attend!