KGUN 9NewsAZ Drought


City to address participation in Colorado River compensation plan

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Posted at 7:44 AM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 10:44:20-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — On Tuesday, Sept. 27, city staff will give an update on Tucson's participation in the Colorado River System compensation.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation previously said that the seven basin states would need to cut overall usage up to 4m acre feet in 2023 to stop Lake Mead and Lake Powell from getting to some serious low elevations.

The city allowed Tucson Water to leave up to 30,000 acre feet of its 2022 water order in Lake Mead, this was to immediately benefit the reservoir’s water elevation.

In return, the city’s Central Arizona Project (CAP) will pay Tucson $261.60 per acre foot of conserved water.

The $261.60 per acre foot of conserved water, will result in $8 million being returned to Tucson Water’s operating fund.


Tucson’s Water reductions have yet to be calculated, but city staff expect that if they do not reach 30,000 acre feet by the end of 2022, they will at least approach that amount.

KGUN 9 spoke with the Director of Tucson water to see how this will directly impact Tucsonans.

“Tucsonans won’t notice any difference. This is excess water that we would’ve just stored in the aquifer for future use so instead of using it down here in Southern Arizona we’re taking this opportunity to help Lake Mead," said John Kmiec, Director of Tucson Water.

Policies that will be under consideration to continue compensating for the Colorado River System are: continuing to plan and manage the city’s water supplies, expand water conservation programs, continue to plan for droughts and invest in public infrastructure.

Brooke Chau is a reporter for KGUN 9. She was a part of Fresno State's newscast, Fresno State Focus and interned at KFSN-ABC30 in Fresno, CA before coming to KGUN 9. Share your story ideas and important issues with Brooke by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.