Archive for the 'Central Arizona Project' Category

Feb 25 2013

AZ: Non-Indian CAP allocation discussed

The Arizona Water Settlements Act and the Arizona Water Settlement Agreement provided for the reallocation of 96,295 acre-feet of relinquished Non-Indian Agricultural Priority Central Arizona Project water. This water was reallocated to the Arizona Department of Water Resources (Department) and is held in trust for further allocation by the Secretary of the Interior. The Director of the Department shall submit a recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior for the allocation of this water to specified municipal and industrial water users.

The Department drafted a proposed process to reallocate this 96,295 acre-feet of NIA Priority CAP water in periodic intervals and evaluation criteria to recommend reallocation of a portion of this water by 2014. The Central Arizona Water Conservation District developed proposed pricing components for this reallocation. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) drafted a review process for receiving the Department’s recommendation for the allocation. A public meeting was held on October 2, 2012 at the Department offices to present the background of this reallocation and these proposed components.

The Department accepted questions and comments regarding the proposed reallocation during the meeting as well as through the comment period which ended on November 9, 2012.

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Nov 27 2012

AZ: BuRec issues proposal on CAP exchange

The Bureau of Reclamation has issued a draft environmental assessment on its proposed approval of an exchange agreement between the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District/Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association (collectively known as SRP).

A 1994 settlement agreement entitles the Nation to up to 13,933 acre-feet annually of Central Arizona Project water. The CAP water can only be delivered via an exchange which allows the Nation to divert water from the Verde River. SRP will then receive an equivalent amount of the Nation’s CAP water entitlement at its CAP/SRP Interconnection Facility. Because this is a federal action, compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act is required. Reclamation is required to approve this agreement on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior.

The draft environmental assessment is posted for public review on Reclamation’s Phoenix Area Office website, www.usbr.gov/lc/phoenix. A hard copy or CD version of the document is available by calling the Environmental Resource Management Division at (623) 773-6251, or by e-mailing jharagara@usbr.gov.

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Oct 24 2012

AZ: Water comment deadline extended

The comment period has been extended through November 9 on a major water settlement agreement in Arizona.

The Arizona Water Settlements Act and the Arizona Water Settlement Agreement provided for the reallocation of 96,295 acre-feet of relinquished Non-Indian Agricultural Priority Central Arizona Project water. This water was reallocated to the Arizona Department of Water Resources and is held in trust for further allocation by the Secretary of the Interior. The Director of the Department shall submit a recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior for the allocation of this water to specified municipal and industrial water users.

The Department has drafted a proposed process to reallocate this 96,295 acre-feet of NIA Priority CAP water in periodic intervals, and evaluation criteria to recommend reallocation of 75,782 acre-feet of this water by 2014. The Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) has developed proposed pricing components for this reallocation. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has drafted a review process for receiving the Department’s recommendation for the allocation.

The proposed process, evaluation criteria, pricing components, and review process of the recommended allocation were presentated during a public meeting on October 2.

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Sep 30 2012

AZ: Salt Project runs CAP water to Gila area

The Gila River Indian Community has struggled for nearly 80 years to restore its water rights, an effort that finally ended in 2004 when Congress passed the Arizona Water Settlements Act. Under that legislation the Community is entitled to up to 311,800 acre-feet of Central Arizona Project water per year, making it the largest single customer of CAP water in Arizona.

The CAP water is key to restoring the Community’s self-sufficient agricultural economy but the Community’s irrigation infrastructure will not be fully built out until 2029, and in the interim, it is not physically able to use its full CAP entitlement. The Community wants to put this water to use by figuring out a way to restore wetlands and the riparian habitat that is so important to the culture of Akimel O’otham and Pee Posh.

That’s where SRP comes in. In order to achieve its goals and perhaps realize its dream, the Community turned to SRP for its expertise in the utilization of water resources — in particular, expertise in riparian recharge and water storage. That expertise will help the Community re-create at least a part of the Gila River, while at the same time create long-term storage credits that it can use and sell, if appropriate, to help finance future riparian recharge activities.

“The Community’s motto is ‘where water flows, life grows’ and it captures the importance of the Gila River to the Community not only in terms of agricultural development, but also its cultural and religious significance,” said Gregory Mendoza, the Community’s Governor. “For the Akimel O’otham, which means the ‘River People,’ the Salt and Gila Rivers were part of our identity, so when the river was diverted, we were not only harmed economically but culturally and religiously as well.” Governor Mendoza believes that this partnership with SRP will not only help achieve the Community’s goals but marks a new chapter in Arizona’s water history. “We used to be on the opposite sides of the table when it came to water, but now we are partners,” said Governor Mendoza.

This sentiment is echoed by SRP. “Our work with the Gila River Community to help develop the Arizona Water Settlements Act laid the groundwork for this important partnership,” said John Sullivan, SRP’s Chief Resources Executive. “Through that process, we came to better understand the importance to the Community of restoring the Gila River. The partnership will not only help the Community achieve its objectives, it will make available vital water supplies for growing Valley communities and for SRP water users during periods of severe drought.”

The agreement with SRP provides needed expertise in exchange for access to a portion of the Community’s water supply for certain projects and in short supply years. The Community will use some of its long-term storage credits itself and will sell a certain proportion of them to other entities to create a stream of revenue for the development, operation and maintenance of the riparian recharge areas, a portion of the OM&R on the Community’s on-reservation canal system, and other water-related activities.

Arizona will also receive significant benefits from the Community’s agreement with SRP. In response to the growing need for renewable water supplies in central Arizona, the two parties intend to make the long-term storage credits available to a variety of current and prospective water users to provide those users access to renewable water supplies.

Under this agreement, the Community also intends to explore using its unique situation of being in both the Phoenix and Pinal AMAs (Active Management Areas) to create opportunities for water providers and other water users to more effectively manage the central Arizona region’s water resources. These opportunities will further assist the state in meeting its water-management goals.

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Oct 26 2011

AZ: CAP starts recharge project

Central Arizona Project, Arizona’s single largest resource for renewable water supplies, is hosting a ceremony to dedicate its seventh and newest recharge and underground storage facility.

The 40-acre Superstition Mountains Recharge Project is CAP’s first in Pinal County, and on the east side of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The project is permitted to accept up to 25,000 acre-feet (more than eight billion gallons) of Colorado River water annually.

The dedication event, open to the media, will take place on Thursday, Oct 27, beginning at 10 A.M. Speakers will include CAP Board President Pamela Pickard, Terri Kibler, Board member representing Pinal County, CAP General Manager David Modeer, and Pinal County Supervisor Bryan Martyn. Following the dedication ceremony, tours of the project will be provided and speakers will be available for interviews.

The Superstition Mountains Recharge Project is unique both for its location up-stream of some of the major groundwater pumpers in the East Valley, and for its design and operation. The twin recharge basins each cover 20 acres and are approximately 2,000 feet long. During their first five weeks of operational testing, water was percolating into the ground at approximately 4.5 feet per day, nearly twice the anticipated rate of recharge.

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Oct 17 2011

AZ: CAP project assessment issued

The Bureau of Reclamation has issued an Environmental Assessment on a proposed 100-year lease of 1,000 acre-feet of Central Arizona Project water annually to the city of Apache Junction?s Water Utilities Community Facilities District. Apache Junction is located in Pinal County, Ariz. The water, part of the CAP entitlement currently held by the Gila River Indian Community, will be treated, delivered or recharged by WUCFD.

The proposed action would not result in additional construction of new facilities or any land-disturbing activities beyond what has been considered within the EA.

Based upon the EA, Reclamation?s preliminary determination is that a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate for this proposed lease, and an environmental impact statement is not required. However, all comments from the public will be fully considered before a final decision is issued.

The EA and draft FONSI is posted for public review on Reclamation?s Phoenix Area Office website, www.usbr.gov/lc/phoenix. A hard copy or CD version of the EA is available by calling the Environmental Resource Management Division at (623) 773-6251, or by e-mailing jharagara@usbr.gov.

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May 24 2011

AZ: CAP on water for nuclear

Central Arizona Project Board of Directors President Pam Pickard and General Manager David Modeer represented CAP on May 24 at a joint hearing of the U. S. House of Representatives Water and Power Subcommittee and the Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee. Modeer is scheduled to testify at the hearing, and will provide information about CAP, Arizona’s single largest resource for renewable Colorado River water supplies, and its relationship with the Navajo Generating Station.

“The future of the Navajo Generating Station is now uncertain,” according to CAP Board President Pam Pickard. “EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) is set to release new emission regulations for NGS this year. Their decision could cause NGS to close, significantly raising the cost of the Colorado River water we deliver to 80 percent of Arizona’s population.”

CAP relies on NGS for nearly all of its energy needs. The coal-fired Navajo plant was constructed as a dedicated source of electricity for CAP and provides very cost-effective power supplies. The EPA is seeking to improve visibility at a number of regional national parks and monuments by mandating controls on nitrogen oxide emissions at NGS. The plant owners have already installed effective controls at a cost of more than $45 million, but EPA favors a much more expensive technology that could cost more than $1 billion to install.

NGS faces other future uncertainties, including the renewal of land and water leases. Rather than risk a huge and potentially unrecoverable $1 billion investment, the NGS participants may consider closing the plant. CAP would then need to meet its energy needs through other means.

“It’s important that Congress and the Obama Administration recognize the impact the EPA decision on NGS emission controls would have on CAP and its customers,” stated Modeer prior to the hearing. “Developing and maintaining an affordable and reliable CAP water supply has transcended Arizona’s partisan political divisions since the 1940s, and our state government and congressional delegation are once again unified in their desire to resolve this issue.

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Dec 08 2010

AZ: CAP okays Tucson reliability plan

On December 2, the Central Arizona Project Board of Directors approved a plan to ensure that Pima County water providers can reliably receive water available under CAP municipal and industrial subcontracts. The plan follows decades of studies by the Bureau of Reclamation and extensive discussion among Pima County M&I subcontractors.

Because pumping plants along the southern portion of the CAP have only a single discharge line, deliveries must be interrupted for annual scheduled maintenance on the plants. To insure that CAP subcontractors in Pima County can still get all of their scheduled annual water deliveries, CAP has agreed to reserve storage capacity at its two recharge facilities in Pima County.

CAP will reserve nearly 2,300 acre-feet (750 million gallons) of capacity at the Lower Santa Cruz Recharge Project in Marana to ensure reliability for the Towns of Marana and Oro Valley, Flowing Wells Irrigation District and Metro Water. For the City of Tucson and other water providers, CAP will set aside 6,000 acre-feet (nearly 2 billion gallons) of capacity at the Pima Mine Road Recharge Project south of Tucson. CAP will also work with Tucson to coordinate underground storage activities to maximize the amount of CAP recharge at all regional facilities.

“We are really pleased to have achieved a consensus solution to ensuring water reliability for the Pima County CAP users,” said CAP Board Member Carol Zimmerman after the Dec. 2 meeting. “This is a long-awaited and truly significant step toward regional sustainability.”

The governing authorities for each of the Tucson-area water providers must still ratify the agreement. An electronic copy of the agreement is available.

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