The Phoenix City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved an agreement with tribal, state, federal and philanthropic leaders to help protect the Colorado River and preserve water levels in Lake Mead.
City officials project that the agreement with the State of Arizona, the Gila River Indian Community, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Walton Family Foundation will save the equivalent of 35 percent of the Colorado River water used by Phoenix residents each year.
Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke addressed the council prior to the vote.
“This agreement will allow for the creation of tools that will be effective in protecting Lake Mead,” said Buschatzke.
“Those tools will be enduring and inclusive, allowing for participation by a broad group of Arizona water entitlement holders and other constituencies.”
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton lauded the deal as “smart water policy” that is “essential to our economy and to every Arizonan.”
“This historic agreement shows how by thinking creatively and working together we can protect our future Colorado River water supply and safeguard against the continued drought and climate change that are directly impacting Lake Mead,” added the mayor.
In his comments, Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis noted the agreement his tribe had signed in January with the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which outlined their expectations for addressing drought and possible shortfalls in Colorado River deliveries. He called Tuesday’s council vote in Phoenix “a continuation” of those commitments.
“With the largest Colorado River water entitlement delivered through the CAP system, the (Gila River) Community has the ability to meet our needs and still make its supply available elsewhere in times of need, said Lewis.