In Arizona, talk of water supply augmentation

There’s a long and important history behind Arizona’s enthusiasm for water supply augmentation. The short arm-wave version is Arizona’s belief that part of the Central Arizona Project’s grand bargain was that the Superhot State would accept a junior priority for its CAP water in return for a commitment to water supply augmentation at some unspecified future time, and in some unspecified way. Arizonans feel like it’s a promise unfulfilled. (Consider the arm-wave a placeholder, I really need to flesh out the story and do some more reading to make sure the arm-wave is correct.)

I say this as preface to this interesting Arizona Republic interview with Pam Pickard, president of the CAP board:

Pickard: We are also working with other water users to augment the flow of the river, such as by cloud seeding to enhance snowpack.

Republic: Will it take a big project, like desalinating Gulf of California water, or lots of smaller measures?

Pickard: Ultimately, both. Large-scale projects, like ocean desalination or importing water from another basin, will likely be needed down the road to meet the demands of projected growth.

But projects like that will take time. That’s why CAP has pushed so hard for the past decade or more to get the Yuma Desalting Plant back into operation, which would save about 100,000 acre-feet every year. We are also supporting tamarisk (salt cedar) removal and other augmentation strategies.