One of the Most Important Elections is the One You Don’t Know About


Central Arizona Project Photo by Philip A. Fortnam
By Warren Tenney

In addition to the important presidential election, this year’s ballot also includes one critical race directly impacting you and your water. It is the election of five members of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board of Directors. If you are wondering what that is, you are not alone.

The Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) is the legal name of the Central Arizona Project (CAP), the 336-mile canal that delivers Colorado River water from Lake Havasu to Phoenix and Tucson. The CAWCD Board is responsible for maintaining the 30-year-old CAP canal, setting rates charged to its customers (including Valley cities), determining the taxes paid to finance the CAP system, and establishing policies to manage CAP water. The Board is comprised of 15 members, with 10 elected from Maricopa County, four from Pima County, and one from Pinal County. This year, Maricopa voters will elect five Board positions. It’s not a high-profile race and requires voters to do a little more homework, but the outcome will affect the entire state.

The CAWCD Board will be facing issues that impact the rates charged to utilities for Colorado River water delivered by the CAP, which are eventually passed on to you, the utility customer. These issues include increasing energy costs, shortage of Colorado River water, the expense of recovering water stored underground by the Arizona Water Banking Authority to offset shortage, and the operation and maintenance of CAP’s aging infrastructure.

The cities of Maricopa and Pima Counties are key CAP customers, providing water to more than 85 percent of Arizona’s population. CAWCD and the cities will need to work together to develop the critical solutions to ultimately ensure citizens have secure, safe water at a reasonable price.

Truly a public service, the CAWCD Board is a voluntary unpaid non-partisan position. It’s important not to mix partisan politics into water. So, do a little research to make a well-educated selection. Share what you learn with family, friends and co-workers so they can also understand the importance of the CAWCD election. It is important to have Board members actively engaged and committed to the wise management of the CAP system. This secures a strong future for Arizona.

There are 10 candidates running for the CAWCD Board: Alexandra Arboleda, Jennifer Brown, Frank Fairbanks, Michael Francis, Thomas Galvin, Ben Graff, Rick Heumann, Jim Holway, Mark Lewis and Rory Van Poucke. Kudos to the candidates for running and for understanding the importance of CAP water to Maricopa County and the rest of Arizona.

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Warren Tenney is the Executive Director for the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA). He was elected twice to the CAWCD Board.

Bottom photo courtesy of Central Arizona Project.

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