The turf war pits the Arizona Department of Water Resources, which manages water issues statewide, against the agency operating the Central Arizona Project, the 336-mile-long canal that brings Colorado River water to Tucson and Phoenix. The proceedings are considered sensitive enough that state officials have released members’ names of only one of the committees.
Known as the Plenary, its 25 members represent an elite who’s who of Arizona water interests: the governor’s office, state and CAP water officials, ranchers, farmers, Indian tribes, utilities, a mining company, developers, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, legislators and a conservationist. Whether the state or CAP makes the final decision to leave river water in Lake Mead that legally belongs to cities, farmers or Indian tribes, in the name of conserving it. Whether to establish a permanent program to compensate CAP water users who leave some of their water in Lake Mead. Whether Indian tribes can set up programs to leave their CAP water in Lake Mead on their own, which CAP says federal contracts don’t allow. Whether Colorado […]