Central Arizona Water Conservation District
The Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) operates the Central Arizona Project (CAP), a 336-mile aqueduct and pumping plant system that delivers Colorado River water from Lake Havasu to central and southern Arizona (cap-az.com). The CAP serves municipalities, agriculture, industry and Native American tribes in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima Counties.
CAWCD’s work is critical. Wise management of our water supply requires leadership, innovation, and collaborative decision-making amongst all parties. The path forward needs to factor in water conservation, impacts of drought and climate change on the Colorado River, integrity and security of the CAP system, and reliability of power supplies. I will bring this vision to the CAWCD Board of Directors through a platform that focuses on water conservation, water and power sustainability, building partnerships that consider the needs of all CAP water customers and stakeholders, and environmental stewardship of the Colorado River – these are the keys to Arizona’s future.
A Bit of History
Getting Colorado River water via the CAP to Pima County was a long and hard-fought battle that began in the 1920s with the seven Colorado River Basin states, including Arizona and California, fighting over how much water each state was entitled to. By the time the water reached Pima County in the 1990s, debate raged locally about how to use and treat it; but groundwater levels had been declining since the 1940s, and it was clear that continuing to overpump groundwater was unsustainable.
The CAP currently supplies about 85% of Tucson’s drinking water, and a substantial amount of CAP water has been stored underground by Tucson Water for the future. Groundwater levels have rebounded, particularly in the central Tucson area. Other communities, water companies and Native American tribes in Pima County also receive CAP water, including Oro Valley, Marana, Green Valley, Metropolitan Domestic Water Improvement District, Flowing Wells Irrigation District, Spanish Trail and Vail water companies, and the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui tribes.
CAP water is the lifeblood of much of Pima County. The County could not have prospered as it has without it. Protecting and managing Arizona’s share of Colorado River water is critical for the continued economic well being of Pima County and the state.
San Xavier Pumping Plant, Central Arizona Project, South of Tucson. Photo credit: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Photos from the Bureau of Reclamation trip up the Lower Colorado River, 2014.