PHOENIX – The Phoenix City Council voted unanimously to allow the city to enter into an agreement with the Central Arizona Water Conservation District in response to the continuing decline of water supplies in Lake Mead on the Colorado River.
The agreement, known as the 500+ Plan, has the goal to add an additional 500,000 acre-feet of water to Lake Mead each year through 2026, and involves the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and stakeholders from Arizona, California and Nevada.
The plan is expected to add approximately 16 acre-feet of water to the reservoir, which continues to reach historic lows.
The goals will require the agreement participants to do without certain amounts of their Colorado River allotments. In exchange for the reduction in water supply, the parties will receive financial compensation.
“The City of Phoenix recognizes the severity of the Colorado River drawdown, and this action is representative of the collaborative regional efforts that are necessary to address the challenge of water shortages and drought,” said Mayor Kate Gallego.
Gallego said that the funds saved through this plan will help identify, innovate and pilot solutions to increase water use efficiency and promote conservation.
Phoenix will receive compensation of $4,163,765.97 for a 2022 contribution of 15,977 acre-feet.
It was also reported that the money will come from the Central Arizona Water Conservation District and will be used to implement water conservation programs. In addition, the city will consider additional contributions in subsequent years on a case-by-case basis.
“This short-term measure is important because it represents quick thinking and collaboration among water users in the Southwest,” stated Phoenix District 1 Councilwoman Ann O’Brien, who is also a member of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA) Board of Directors.
Source: MEXICO-NOW Staff