Central Arizona Project and the Arizona Department of Water Resources have begun a fresh conversation regarding Arizona’s Drought Contingency Plan.
This process, which began with a public briefing and technical briefing, continued today (7/26) with the effort’s first Steering Committee meeting. The Steering Committee will address issues that respect the concerns of all stakeholders across the state as we work together on this plan aimed at protecting Lake Mead from falling to dangerously low levels.
The Steering Committee was formed to discuss and recommend how to adopt and implement a Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan in a way that is acceptable to Arizona water users. Eight more Steering Committee meetings are scheduled to be held between now and December. All meetings are open to the public.
All the states that share the river, the federal government and Mexico previously agreed to shortage “trigger levels” and resulting reduced delivery amounts in a 2007 shortage sharing agreement. But, the LBDCP would propose earlier and deeper reductions to Colorado River supplies for Arizona and Nevada beyond those agreed-upon limits. In addition, California would be asked to make contributions to Lake Mead at specified levels. Projections by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation show that the LBDCP, along with contributions from Mexico and actions by the Upper Basin States, would reduce the risks of falling below critical elevations in Lake Mead.
An effective AZDCP may address: 1) Mitigation for Agriculture Users; 2) Excess Water; 3) Tribal Intentionally Created Surplus; 4) an Arizona Conservation Plan. Each of these topics will be explored during future Steering Committee meetings and CAP Blogs.