AMWUA Blog

Mar 08 2021Share

Availability and Delivery of Water is a Collaborative Process

By AMWUA Staff

Collaboration among the AMWUA cities results in efficiency and strong water management for the common purpose of safeguarding water supplies in the Valley. The AMWUA cities are ultimately responsible for delivering water to the homes and businesses within their communities, so they continually plan and invest to ensure safe, reliable, and sustainable water supplies for today and the future. This requires working closely with other entities that have unique responsibilities with water in Arizona.

Over our five decades of history, AMWUA and its member cities have worked collaboratively with key partners to make necessary changes to the State's groundwater laws, including the 1980 Groundwater Management Act, the development of the Assured Water Supply requirements, Underground Water Storage Act, 1986 Environmental Quality Act, creation of the Arizona Water Banking Authority, adoption of the Drought Contingency Plan and other laws that have been crucial to protecting and enhancing Arizona's water supplies.

These past efforts were only possible due to the cooperation and collaboration among municipalities, regulatory agencies, and the entities that bring surface water to this Valley.  

Those water management agencies and entities that the AMWUA cities work with daily include:

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ): The state agency responsible for oversight, regulation, and enforcement of Arizona's water quality regulations. ADEQ regulates groundwater, surface water, and recycled water. The AMWUA cities and other water providers in Arizona work closely with ADEQ to ensure that the water produced and delivered by cities meets all state and federal water quality requirements.

Arizona Dept of Water Resources (ADWR): The state agency, created in 1980 by the Groundwater Management Act, designated to implement the State's water laws. ADWR oversees Arizona's water supplies and supports statewide and local water planning efforts. ADWR is the most important state agency for our economy as it handles the management of the State's water resources. The AMWUA cities work with ADWR on water accounting, recharge, conservation, and crucial water planning issues, such as groundwater management and the Assured Water Supply Program.

Arizona Water Banking Authority (AWBA): A governmental entity created in 1996 to ensure Arizona utilized its full allocation of Colorado River water. The AWBA recharges CAP water underground to provide backup supplies for municipal water providers in times of shortage. The AMWUA cities coordinate with the AWBA to plan for recovering those water supplies.

Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD): A special governmental district that oversees and operates the Central Arizona Project, the 336-mile system of pump stations and canals that bring 1.5 million acre-feet of Arizona’s Colorado River water from Lake Havasu to Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties. CAWCD delivers Colorado River water to the AMWUA cities and other water providers. The AMWUA cities operate treatment plants to treat and deliver their Colorado River water and closely coordinate with CAWCD to receive daily deliveries.

Salt River Project (SRP): The Salt River Project was established over 100 years ago to build dams and other infrastructure that allowed the Salt and Verde Rivers to be utilized year-round in the Valley. SRP operates eight dams, seven reservoirs, and 131 miles of canals that bring water from the Salt and Verde rivers to the Phoenix metropolitan area. The AMWUA cities receive surface water and groundwater from SRP, with lots of collaboration on infrastructure usage like canals and pumps to ensure that water can get to where it is needed.

United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR): Established in 1902, USBR is best known for the dams, powerplants, and canals it constructed in 17 western states, including USBR’s oversight in the construction of Roosevelt Dam and the Central Arizona Project. USBR has built more than 600 dams and reservoirs, including Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. USBR is the largest wholesaler of water in the country, delivering 10 trillion gallons of water to more than 31 million people each year. The AMWUA cities primarily interact with USBR on Colorado River matters and benefit from grants to support innovative water management and conservation efforts.

The delivery of water to residents, businesses, and communities in the Valley is a complex process. It requires collaboration, which drove our past successes and remains vital to our collective sustainability moving forward.


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For over 50 years, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has helped protect our member cities' ability to provide assured, safe, and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more information, visit www.amwua.org.

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