Acquisition meets current and future replenishment obligations for next 25 years
The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD), the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) and Gila River Water Storage LLC (GRWS) have forged an historic partnership that provides a renewable water supply to meet CAGRD’s statutory replenishment obligations for the next 25 years. This pioneering acquisition provides a substantial water supply that developers and home builders will rely on as part of the 2015 CAGRD Plan of Operation, as well as under its next Plan of Operation that will be due for submission to the Arizona Department of Water Resources in 2024.
This acquisition, with an initial cost of $97.5 million, involves water coming from three sources:
- 15,000 acre feet per year of high-priority Central Arizona Project (CAP) water through an exchange with the GRIC
- 18,185 acre feet per year of slightly lower priority CAP water through a lease with the GRIC
- 445,375 long-term storage credits in the Pinal and Phoenix Active Management Areas (AMAs) from GRWS
“We are excited about entering into this new and innovative partnership with CAGRD,” says GRIC Governor Stephen Roe Lewis. “Not only does our agreement provide water for sustainable future development, but it does so by supporting the Community’s goals of returning portions of the Gila River and reducing our irrigation costs. This is truly a win-win arrangement because much of the leased water will be stored on the Community’s lands and the exchange will help reduce the Community’s irrigation costs, while at the same time providing water to meet CAGRD’s needs. ”
As CAGRD is funded solely by its members, all acquisition costs will be paid through CAGRD fees, rates and membership dues.
“Last week, CAGRD participated in signing the agreement with the Gila River Indian Community, celebrating the substantial volume of water acquired that will allow CAGRD to meet its current and future replenishment obligations,” says Sharon Megdal, PhD, CAWCD board member and chair of CAP’s CAGRD and Underground Storage Committee. “We would like to commend the Gila River Indian Community for working with us to come up with a truly remarkable agreement that helps CAGRD meet its replenishment obligations.”
The next step is to obtain the necessary approvals and signatures from the federal government. It is anticipated this water will be available to CAGRD beginning in 2020.