Approves new policy related to Excess Water and Turn-Back Water

The Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board of Directors (CAWCD) convened today for its September meeting.

The Board approved (by a vote of 8-3) the “Procedure for Distributing CAP Excess Water and Turn-Back Water for the Period of 2020 through 2024” (agenda: bookmark 9 – pages 103-107).  This replaces the previous “Access to Excess” policy, which expires at the end of this year. The new policy carries forward many of the aspects of the previous policy while adding clarity and incorporating suggestions from the Excess Water Task Force and Roundtable. The policy is intended to provide guidance without interfering with deadlines related to renegotiation of the Interim Guidelines and the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan. It will also allow the Board, in years in which excess water is available, to make excess available to statutory firming or supplemental firming pools, or to leave the water in Lake Mead as system conservation water.

Other actions taken by the CAWCD board included:

  • Agreement between CAWCD and Arizona Water Company to store water at Hieroglyphics Mountain Recharge Project White Tank, Hieroglyphics Mountain Recharge Project Apache Junction, Superstition Mountains Recharge Project Apache Junction and Agua Fria Recharge Project White Tank (consent agenda: bookmark 2 -- pages 21 & 22)
  • A one-year lease between CAWCD and Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation for CAGRD replenishment purposes  -- 3.933 acre feet at $56/acre foot (agenda: bookmark 10 -- pages 107-108)

CAP staff members provided updates on:

  • The Customer Service task force (agenda: bookmark 5 – pages 75-79) – this includes a new Customer Feedback Form now available in the board room and at the CAP headquarters front desk;
  • Colorado River conditions (agenda: bookmark 7 – pages 89-93) – Lake Mead at 40% (elevation 1083’), per 24-month study, into LBDCP Tier Zero trigger by just 6/10 of a foot (50,000 acre feet);
  • CAP General Manager Ted Cooke discussed next steps following Arizona Drought Contingency Implementation Plan; and,
  • CAP Water operations, including 2019 CAP Colorado River Planned and Actual Diversions and 2019 Lake Mead Contributions (agenda: bookmark 8 -- pages 94-97);

The CAWCD Board of Directors is a popularly elected, 15-member board. Ten members are from Maricopa County, four from Pima County and one from Pinal. Members serve six-year, unpaid terms. The board typically meets publicly the first Thursday of each month to establish policy and set rates and taxes for CAP.

For additional details on the September board meeting, take a look at the agenda and packet. Board minutes and videos will be posted here.


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.