The Tucson area has been in a drought since the year 2000. However, Tucson Water has planned and invested in preparation for sustained drought because of uncertainties surrounding flows in the Colorado River.
Tucson Water has produced long-range water resource plans since the 1990s. All include recommendations for drought preparedness. The use of our Central Arizona Project (CAP) allocation was critical to the future of Tucson at the turn of the century. The Clearwater Program moved Tucson into a water future that is not as bleak as in many other parts of the West. By constructing recharge facilities to take the City’s entire CAP allocation, Tucson Water strengthened its drought response through conservation and banking of water for future needs.
The Clearwater Program has stored more than 200,000 acre-feet (AF) of water for future shortages to Tucson’s CAP allocation. With demand dropping, 55,000 AF of CAP water was stored just in the year 2014. In addition, the Arizona Water Banking Authority has stored more than 200,000 AF at Clearwater for future potable needs. Continued use of reclaimed water and decades of conservation efforts by the community give us a reliable water future even in light of drought.