Department of Justice Seal



TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2000

(202) 514-2007


TDD (202) 514-1888


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Central Arizona Water Conservation District's (CAWCD) will pay $1.65 billion to reimburse the United States for its share of the construction costs of a 335-mile canal system across the state, according to an agreement announced today in Phoenix. The agreement, approved today by U.S. District Court Judge Earl H. Carroll, resolves a dispute over the actual amount the CAWCD would be required to reimburse the government in connection with the $4 billion Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal system, as well as the pricing of water supplied to cities, irrigation districts, and Indian tribes and how project revenues may be used to defray costs.

CAP, a system of canals, pumping stations, power plants, dams and reservoirs, delivers water from the Colorado River to Phoenix, Tucson and surrounding areas. The canal system, built over a 23-year period by the United States Bureau of Reclamation and operated by CAWCD, was completed in 1996.

The agreement further provides for the establishment of a flexible water marketing program to assist the local agricultural economy which has struggled in recent years. Central Arizona cities and Indian tribes will receive additional long-term rights to receive water from the project. The agreement provides that 200,000 acre-feet of water will be given to various Indian tribes within Arizona in addition to more than 400,000 acre-feet of water already allocated to the tribes that annually flows through the canal system. One acre-foot equals 326,000 gallons.

The agreement is considered the initial step in resolving broader conflicts over water rights in the State of Arizona. Before becoming final, it requires congressional action settling longstanding Indian water rights claims and funding construction of additional facilities enabling tribes to use their allocated project water.

Contact the United States Bureau of Reclamation: Randy Chandler, 602-216-3820 or Dale Clouser, 602-216-3925