Pinal Partnership Breakfast: County Water Resources; moderated by Jordan Rose, founder and president of Rose Law Group

By Pinal Central

ELOY — Arizona isn’t running out of water, but it’s likely to become more expensive in years to come as utilities explore creative ways to be more sustainable, a panel of water executives told Pinal Partnership members and guests Friday morning.

Currently the water supply is quite good, some said.

“What’s most exciting for us is the snowfall in California and the Rockies,” Mitch Basefsky, stakeholder outreach coordinator for Central Arizona Project, said. “We’re seeing runoff that’s expected to be about 150% of normal into Lake Powell,” which may be enough to recover from a Tier 2 back to a Tier 1 shortage. “It’s not a long-term solution, but it’s certainly been a great breath of relief.”

“What we’re receiving is a great wet winter, one of the wettest winters we’ve seen in the last 100 years,” Ron Klawitter, Salt River Project’s manager of water system projects, said. He said SRP has been releasing or “spilling” much water it can’t store, about 350,000 acre-feet. “We’ve now spilled more water on the Verde River than we even have capacity to hold.” Spilled water ultimately goes west down the Gila River.

“As of the beginning of March, our reservoir system was completely full. We’ve been spilling water on both the Salt and Verde rivers for more than a month now,” Klawitter said.