U.S. Water News Online
TUCSON, Ariz. — Looking to plug a $6.5 million budget hole for Tucson Water this fiscal year, the City Council has voted unanimously to sell more than one-third of its share of Central Arizona Project water.
The council also approved Tucson Water's plan to sell 50,000 acre-feet of CAP water to the Arizona Water Banking Authority for next fiscal year as well. The fiscal year begins on July 1.
Tucson's allocation of CAP water from the Colorado River is just over 144,000 acre-feet a year.
The water department was facing a shortfall of as much as $15 million.
The city says the economy has choked off new water connections and conservation by Tucsonans has led to less water usage.
Final approval of the plan was delayed.
Councilwoman Karin Uhlich wants the city to find a Pima County municipality that would be willing to buy water recharge credits from Tucson.
If Tucson sells the recharge credits instead of the actual CAP water to another city or government entity it would be enough to help bridge the $6.5 million deficit the water department faces, although the city needs to find a willing buyer, said Chris Avery, interim deputy director of Tucson Water.
Selling the recharge credits would ensure the water is stored in Tucson's aquifer.
The Phoenix-based Arizona Water Banking Authority buys excess CAP water and stores it in the ground for future use.
The city's hope is that the authority would store the CAP water it buys from the city at Tucson Water's recharge basins in Avra Valley.
But it's not a given that the CAP water would be recharged there.
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