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Crystal Thompson

Phoenix, AZ – February 2, 2017. Central Arizona Project and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reached an historic agreement today that will increase the reliability the state’s single largest renewable water supply. The “CAP System Use Agreement” creates the legal framework to allow the 336-mile CAP canal to be used in new and innovative ways, including transporting new water supplies, exchanging supplies among users, and efficiently accessing water stored underground by the Arizona Water Banking Authority and others.

System Use Agreement Document Signing“This Agreement provides us with the flexibility for cost-effective recovery of stored water, including more than four million acre-feet of CAP water stored in the aquifers of Central and Southern Arizona,” said General Manager Ted Cooke. “I would like to thank the negotiators from the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation, along with the significant contributions from the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Arizona Water Banking Authority.”

“CAP is also fortunate to benefit from the solid backing of the entire Arizona Congressional delegation, particularly Senator Flake, who took the lead on this issue. The collaboration of the Governor, as well as Arizona's agricultural organizations, municipalities and tribes was critical to this effort. Nowhere will one find a better example of teamwork,” said Lisa Atkins, CAP board President.

“Arizona has long been planning for potential shortages on the Colorado River,” said Senator Flake, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. “With this solidified agreement, we will now be able to use the water that we work so hard to protect.”

“I am pleased to express Reclamation's full support of the CAP System Use Agreement.  Signing this Agreement recognizes the importance of using the CAP canal with maximum flexibility for the benefit of all CAP users especially to reduce the risks to Arizona of continued drought and potential Colorado River shortages,” said Leslie Meyers, Area Manager of the Phoenix Area Office for the Bureau of Reclamation.

Today’s agreement is crucial to the success of efforts by CAP and state water agencies to manage risks from drought and shortages on the Colorado River, and is consistent with Arizona’s long-standing commitment to proactive water management. 

Central Arizona Project (CAP) is Arizona's single largest resource for renewable water supplies. CAP is designed to bring roughly 1.5 million acre-feet of water from the Colorado River to Central and Southern Arizona every year. More than 80% of the state's population, live in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties, where CAP water is delivered. It is a 336-mile long system of aqueducts, tunnels, pumping plants and pipelines.