Monday, November 29, 2021

CAP Confirms: Oro Valley Will See No CAP Water Reduction

No impact on Oro Valley's CAP allocation from CAP tier one reduction
Oro Valley water will not be impacted by the tier one reduction in Colorado River water. This reduction goes into effect in January. 

In a briefing to The Oro Valley Town Council on November 17, Karen Cesare, elected representative for Southern Arizona on the state's CAP water board, stressed that Oro Valley and all municipalities  "..will see no reduction in your CAP." Later in the discussion she emphasized to Council Member Jones-Ivey  "We’re trying to do everything we can to protect it or minimize the impact on municipalities."

Summer Monsoon had no effect on CAP water levels
This summers wet monsoon season has not impact on CAP water levels. This is because CAP water comes from the snow melt in the Colorado Rockies. "We look at snow pack and what's happening in the Rocky Mountains," Cesare noted. According to her, if you want to follow the snowfall and the melt you can follow the weather in Grand Lake, Colorado. "If it's snowing in Grand Lake Colorado that’s a good thing," 

Oro Valley water use restrictions are not on the radar
Oro Valley Water Director Peter Abraham does not foresee a time when restrictions will be put in place. Speaking to council in June, he stated that the only time he thinks a significant water restriction would happen is if there is a breakdown to a part of the system, such as a major water break in a portion of the water system that does not have sufficient redundancy to switch to an alternate supply." 

The town reaffirmed its confidence in its ability to deliver a reliable water supply to the community regardless of what happens with CAP water: "To ensure the perpetuity of a safe and reliable water supply for Oro Valley, the Town is well positioned to meet the challenges presented by the supply shortages on the Colorado River water system." This appeared in the November issue of the Town Manager Executive Report To Council (p14).

One day, perhaps by 2025, a CAP Tier 3 emergency will be declared. This will reduce CAP water allocation to Or Valley. Even if this happens, CAP has no authority to mandate how the local water can be used.  Oro Valley's has detailed is water restrictions by threat level level. The council approved these in June. The levels and the restrictions for each are based on water demand in relation to water production capacity. They are not related to CAP water deliveries. You can Oro Valleys emergency restriction plan here.

Good News: Reconsultation is in Progress
The current CAP water use agreement was created long before Arizona was part of program. California, with its enormous political clout, has priority to the Colorado River Water, Arizona is a junior partner. California will see a reduction in CAP water only if further declines in the water level at Lake Meade happen. Even then, the amount of their CAP water reduction is only half of Arizona's. 

There will be a reallocation starting in 2026 that is to be negotiated. According to Cesare, reconsultation is " opportunity to reset and everyone’s take. We are dividing up a smaller pie. There’s a whole bunch of ways to do it and that’s what the process is about.... Arizona’s working right now to come up with our position so that we can go into the whole process as a unified state."
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