Looming Drought Prompts Arizona Cities to Stock up on Colorado River Water
In recent years, cities, municipalities, tribes, and industries have been upping their orders from the Central Arizona Project, which is responsible for transporting water through 336 miles of pipelines and canals from Lake Mead on the Colorado River to Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties.
Arizona cities are using the larger orders to stockpile water ahead of potential future cuts, which are being negotiated as part of Arizona’s Drought Contingency Plan (DCP).
In 2016, CAP delivered about 511,000 acre-feet of water, for example.
The year before, it delivered about 600 acre-feet more than ordered.
For the third year in a row, Phoenix has ordered its full allocation of Colorado River water — 186,557 acre-feet per year, according to Campbell.
The Colorado River is not Phoenix’s sole supply of water.
Water banking, as the process is known, can be done by actively injecting water through wells and into aquifers underground.
Recently, the city has inked deals with the city of Tucson and the Salt River Project to store water in facilities owned by those entities.
In late September, SRP and Phoenix announced a deal that would allow Phoenix to store additional unused Colorado River water in the Granite Reef Underground Storage Project, which sits on Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community land.
That includes being able to store it for the future.” Patrick Dent, water control manager for the Central Arizona Project, said that the city of Tucson was responsible for the single largest change in the additional 23,500 acre-feet of water that cities and industries ordered in 2019 from CAP.