Colorado River Water Use Highlights:

Arizona Colorado River Water Use:

From the 2019 Annual Report - View Full Report Here ⟶

Arizona’s 2019 focus was largely on the state’s Drought Contingency Implementation Plan and the many related agreements.

This involved collaboration, compromise and consensus among nearly 40 stakeholders, including legislative leaders, tribes, municipalities, agriculture, home builders, on-river users, industry and environmental groups who came together to work on Arizona’s solution. Months of transparent public meetings occurred, legislation passed and was signed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Jan. 31, authorizing Arizona to sign the system-wide Drought Contingency Plan. Ultimately, the president signed the Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act on April 16, 2019, and on May 20, 2019, Arizona representatives participated in the historic signing ceremony at Hoover Dam

Following the successful completion of Arizona’s Drought Contingency Implementation Plan, Governor Ducey announced the Governor’s Water Augmentation, Innovation and Conservation Council, which includes representatives from many of these same stakeholder groups. The goal of the council is to facilitate a more resilient water future for Arizona.

Already, Arizona is seeing the benefit of the Drought Contingency Plan, which has helped stabilize Lake Mead and has created incentives to contribute water to the reservoir. In 2020, and likely 2021, we will be operating under DCP’s Tier Zero, a reduction of 192,000 acre-feet to Arizona, borne entirely by CAP. While the reductions are painful, we have been preparing for DCP level contributions since 2015.

Now, Arizona turns its attention to the future— developing a more resilient, healthy Colorado River system as we face the potential for a hotter and drier future. The Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Central Arizona Water Conservation District will be calling upon the same stakeholders whose perspectives informed the Drought Contingency Plan process as we work together to develop a shared vision for the future of Arizona’s Colorado River supply. All parties with Colorado River entitlements will be involved in looking toward the future to protect Arizona’s water rights and support the DCP.

Arizona demonstrated that it is stronger together through the DCP process and expects to build upon that success as we prepare for the next steps on the Colorado River.

The 2019 winter runoff season (January-May) for the Salt and Verde River watersheds experienced twice median runoff (210%), resulting in a total inflow of 1,121,000 acre-feet. Roosevelt Lake, the largest reservoir on the Salt River Project system, ended at 78% full by the end of the runoff season (May 31). The Verde River system reservoirs filled and spilled approximately 100,000 acre-feet.

The U.S. Forest Service in partnership with SRP, the Bureau of Reclamation, Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management jointly developed and released a large- scale request for proposal to mechanically thin between 605,000 and 818,000 acres of forested lands to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and protect watersheds. Contract awards are expected to be made in the spring of 2020.