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As temperatures climb toward the triple digits, snow is likely the last thing on many people’s minds – especially those living within the Central Arizona Project service area of Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties. But even though we’re entering the dog days of summer, snow in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is important to those in central and southern Arizona who rely on CAP for their water supply. And when it comes to snow, the news is not bad as it has been during the past few years.


Today, Central Arizona Project (CAP) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first fill of Lake Pleasant following the construction of New Waddell Dam. In addition to being a scenic recreational facility, Lake Pleasant plays a key role in delivering water to more than five million Arizona residents. The lake is actually a 15-square-mile reservoir that holds water from two sources: the Colorado River and the Agua Fria River.


Some 380 bird species will be singing for joy as water returns to the Colorado River delta this week thanks to a pilot “pulse flow” into this area where water has not flowed regularly since completion of Lake Powell in 1964. This Environmental Pulse Flow will release 105,000 acre-feet (approximately 34 billion gallons) of water from Lake Mead and send it to the Colorado River delta in Mexico. This water represents about one-third of the water Mexico has stored in Lake Mead since 2010. 


The results of the 2012 Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study were striking—within the next 50 years, we may experience significant supply shortfalls in the Colorado River basin. Upon receiving the study results, Central Arizona Project (CAP) began to conduct a comprehensive assessment of what had already been done to address a potential shortfall. The results show that Arizona is well prepared—and that extends to the state’s agricultural community.

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