In October 2014, Tucson and Phoenix announced a new water-sharing agreement that consists of Phoenix storing some of its unused water from Central Arizona Project (CAP) in aquifers in southern Tucson. In Phase One of the pilot program, Phoenix will store up-to 850 acre-feet per year of its unused CAP water in Tucson’s well field at the Southern Avra Valley Storage And Recovery Project (SAVSARP) facility. In times of shortage, Tucson would give some of its CAP allocation to Phoenix in exchange for water already stored at SAVSARP. After Phase One, the program will be reviewed in preparation for Phase Two. In this phase, the two cities plan to expand the SAVSARP facility to store up to 40,000 acre-feet per year of Phoenix CAP allocation.
SAVSARP sits atop an ancient streambed, providing ideal conditions for recharging large volumes of water. Currently, the facility recharges 60,000 acre-feet per year of Colorado River water delivered via CAP. The pilot agreement will provide greater water security for each city while saving both money and water. Phoenix saves because SAVSARP already has expensive infrastructure in place. Tucson saves because Phoenix would pay to expand SAVSARP, and because pumping from a higher water table uses less energy.
To listen to the news conference featuring Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, click here.