The key take-away from this week’s Central Arizona Project Water Supply Briefing was that CAP anticipates water supply and deliveries to remain steady thanks to a wet winter that will likely keep the Colorado River Basin out of a Tier 1 shortage.

CAP Santa Rosa Turnout

Originally, the meeting was styled as a “Shortage Preparation Workshop.” Now, with the near- certainty that there will not be a Tier 1 shortage in 2020, the meeting was reworked into a briefing to not only project supplies and deliveries, but to brief customers on a number of related topics, including Colorado River conditions, Intentionally Created Surplus (ICS) program and post-Navajo Generating Station (NGS) energy management.

Projected 2019 CAP Supply and Deliveries

The 2020 water year is being planned according to Drought Contingency Plan implementation, assuming a Tier Zero (rather than Tier 1) shortage level. This includes:

  • Mandatory 192 kaf reduction in supplies, nearly the amount CAP has been voluntarily leaving in Lake Mead since 2015 as part of our Lake Mead Conservation program
  • An offset program meant to keep Lake Mead stable while using CAP’s ICS as a future mitigation resource

2020 CAP Delivery Supply Projections:

  • CAP Colorado River Available supply -- 1.67 maf
  • CAP supplies available for delivery – 1.43 maf, after accounting for –
    - 192 kaf mandatory Tier Zero DCP reduction
    - 75 kaf in CAP system losses (evaporation)
    - 30 kaf supplied from water in Lake Pleasant
  • Forecasted CAP deliveries – 1.2 maf available to order based on long-term contracts, with a least 233 kaf projected for the CAP Ag Pool

Current Colorado River Conditions

Projections are favorable, thanks to a wet snow season, which translated into runoff projected to raise levels in Lake Powell and subsequent releases from Lake Powell to Lake Mead. The April-July inflow into Lake Powell is projected to be 128% of the 30-year average.

Currently, Lake Mead is projected to end 2019 at 1085’ elevation (Tier Zero under DCP). 2020 is also projected to end in Tier Zero, at elevation 1080’.

Intentionally Created Surplus Programs

ICS facilitates storage in Lake Mead for certain Colorado River contractors that implement conservation efforts. Exhibits are submitted by those wishing to create ICS, which then require a Creation Plan, Certification Report and Accounting. DCP creates additional flexibilities to encourage additional conservation in Lake Mead. Currently existing ICS together with planned ICS creation through 2021 would provide approximately 600,000 acre-feet of ICS for Arizona, of which about 500,000 acre-feet would count toward Arizona’s ICS accumulation limit. The process for approving the Arizona 2019 ICS Creation Plans is nearing completion and the review of proposed 2020 ICS Creation Plans will begin in the near term.

Post-NGS Power Management

As directed by the 2017 CAP Board Task Force, CAP will be diversifying its energy portfolio, ensuring no single generation source or contract should provide more than 15-20 percent of CAP’s energy needs. Currently this includes SRP power, solar energy and pursuing open market options.

The CAP Water Briefing presentation can be found here.

The meeting ended with an announcement regarding the next quarterly CAP Water User Roundtable, scheduled for 1 p.m., June 20, at CAP Headquarters. The topic will be excess water.

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