Scottsdale, Tucson form partnership to address Arizona’s water issues

Aug 24, 2023, 4:15 AM

Arizona water...

Water from the Colorado River diverted through the Central Arizona Project fills an irrigation canal, Aug. 18, 2022, in Maricopa, Ariz. In Arizona, water officials are concerned, though not panicking, about getting water in the future from the Colorado River as its levels decline and the federal government talks about the need for states in the Colorado River Basin to reduce use. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

PHOENIX — The Scottsdale City Council signed an agreement Monday creating a water exchange partnership, fostering collaboration between the cities of Scottsdale and Tucson.

The agreement came out of a need to escalate more efficient water supply recourses between cities.

Tucson is executing a similar agreement with other Valley cities, according to a press release.

In the agreement, Scottsdale could exchange up to 5,000 acre-feet of Scottsdale’s Central Arizona Project (CAP) water on an annual basis.

For the exchange, Scottsdale can get credits that will be redeemed during shortages, the city said.

“Interjurisdictional, proactive measures like this benefit Scottsdale residents and show the state that local municipalities are taking forward-thinking action to make sure our communities have water for decades to come,” Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega said in the press release.

How does the water exchange partnership work?

Scottsdale will store its portion of CAP water at Tucson’s storage and recovery facility.

As a result, long-term storage credits will be earned for Scottsdale.

Tucson can recover the water from its facility and use it as needed within the city of Tucson.

In exchange for water usage, Scottsdale will get a portion of Tucson’s CAP supply directly out of the canal for use within Scottsdale.

CAP delivers water to Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties and serves more than 80% of Arizona’s population.

Taking steps to solve water issues in Arizona

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero noted the city is helping support Arizona cities to build their own water resilience.

“I am proud to help the City of Scottsdale and Mayor Ortega protect their precious water resources through this water exchange agreement,” Romero said in the press release.

“As our state continues to face a Colorado River mega drought, desert cities must continue working together to ensure a more resilient water future.”

Scottsdale Water has worked to heighten water conservation and infrastructure planning.

“Scottsdale recognizes that innovative solutions like this are the key to sustaining water resources as we continue to face the mega drought,” Ortega said in the press release.

The city council’s approval allows Scottsdale Water’s executive director the authority to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Tucson.

Tucson approved its portion in early August.

Both cities plan to sign the agreement by the end of the month.

Water storage could start as soon as September, the city said.

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Scottsdale, Tucson form partnership to address Arizona’s water issues