CAWCD dedicates $5.3 million for infrastructure improvements 

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Crystal Thompson

Phoenix, AZ – On May 4, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) board will consider a proposal to earmark $5.3 million for infrastructure improvements to increase water reliability in the Tucson region. If approved, this collaborative effort between CAWCD and Tucson area water providers will complete an important component of the 2011 Agreement for Tucson Area Reliability, and will increase opportunities for the recovery of water stored underground by the Arizona Water Banking Authority.

“Our Tucson area partners developed a thoughtful and creative proposal that will enhance their ability to store and recover water supplies,” said Lisa Atkins, CAWCD Board President. “When we examined the proposal, it became clear this is precisely the type of collaboration we enjoy supporting, as it furthers the vision and mission of CAP.”

The Agreement for Tucson Area Reliability among CAWCD, the City of Tucson and the Northwest Providers (Metropolitan Domestic Water Improvement District, Flowing Wells Irrigation District, the Town of Marana, and the Town of Oro Valley) resolved a long-standing operational issue by reserving recharge capacity for those parties. The agreement provides system reliability comparable to that gained by water providers in the Phoenix area when Roosevelt Dam was raised to increase storage. In addition to reserving storage capacity, CAWCD set aside $6 million to fund reliability for the southern part of the system, of which $5.3 million remains.

Since the Tucson area relies on recharge and recovery rather than surface water treatment plants, the proposal focuses on building necessary recovery infrastructure for the City of Tucson and the Northwest Providers.

"This proposal will directly support CAP water utilization for the Northwest Providers via initial funding for the construction of infrastructure that will recover and convey this critical water resource to the provider's service areas," said Joe Olsen, General Manager of Metro Water District. "This innovative resolution to the Reliability Agreement is a perfect example of a collaborative outcome that benefits all parties."

"Access to Colorado River water through the Central Arizona Project is a fundamental part of Tucson's long-term sustainability," said Tim Thomure, Director of Tucson Water. "This agreement enhances our ability to access this resource and strengthens our water supply reliability. It is a great result for all parties involved."

If the proposal is approved, the remaining funds will be dispersed to the City of Tucson to prepare recovery wells at the Pima Mine Road Recharge Project; and to the Northwest Providers to develop and construct planned portions of the Northwest Recharge, Recovery and Delivery System that will help recover and deliver CAP water from the Avra Valley Recharge Project and Lower Santa Cruz Recharge Project adjacent to the providers’ service areas.

The CAWCD board meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on May 4 at CAP Headquarters, 23636 N. 7th St., Phoenix. 

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.