Phoenix And Tucson Creates Water Conservation Agreement

By Al Macias
Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - 6:01pm

Phoenix and Tucson are working together to save water for the future. An agreement between the two cities means Phoenix will be able to store unused water from the Central Arizona Project in Tucson’s underground aquifers.

Currently Phoenix uses about two thirds of its allocation of Colorado River water that is delivered by the CAP. The unused portion goes back to the agency.

Under the agreement, Phoenix will send the unused water south to Tucson where water will be stored in groundwater storage. In times of drought, Tucson would use the water for its residents and then designate its share of CAP water to Phoenix.

On Wednesday officials from Phoenix and Tucson announced the plan. Tucson mayor Jonathan Rothschild said it makes sense.

"Compared to reservoir storage, groundwater storage saves more water for use later, as far is loss through evaporation," Rothschild said.

Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton said the cities are looking beyond Arizona as they plan for possible water shortages.

"We’ve been innovative with agreements like the one we’re talking about today," Stanton said. "And working without partners in California and southern Nevada to find common ground on shortage scenarios."

A pilot project will get underway next year and is scheduled to run two to three years.