SRP, Phoenix reach historic pact on water supplies

Salt River Project and the city of Phoenix recently unveiled a partnership that will help ensure reliable water deliveries in the future during extreme drought and shortage conditions on the Colorado River.

The first-of-its-kind agreement starts on July 1 of this year and will last for the next 40 years. Under the terms of deal, SRP will reserve capacity in its extensive well system for the city’s future use to recover long term storage credits held within the Salt River Project water service area. 

The Phoenix City Council recently approved the 40-year partnership with SRP, the public power utility noted in a March 8 news release.

“This partnership represents an efficient approach to recovering water that has been stored for times of drought. Economic and efficient recovery of water previously stored underground is a critical issue facing Phoenix and other entities in the greater metropolitan area, and SRP is happy to be a part of the solution,” said SRP Associate General Manager/Water Resources Dave Roberts.

SRP is set to provide the city up to a maximum of 20,000 acre-feet of water per year pumped from the utility’s wells located within the Salt River Reservoir District. Phoenix will pay a one-time fee of $12.3 million to reserve pumping capacity in SRP’s wells.

In addition, the city will pay SRP $55.82 for each acre-foot of water up to 100,000-acre feet and $151.17 for each acre-foot above 100,000-acre feet pumped by SRP for Phoenix during the term of the agreement. Prices will be adjusted annually for inflation. 

SRP is the oldest multipurpose water reclamation project in the country. It operates and maintains an irrigation system that typically delivers more than 325 billion gallons of water to municipal, industrial, agriculture, and urban irrigation systems each year. The utility’s extensive system of dams, canals, and groundwater wells allows SRP to store water during times of abundance and then dispense it in when things turn dry. 

SRP is the largest provider of water and electricity to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet of water annually to cities that serve approximately 2 million residents, urban and agricultural water users, and serving more than 1 million electric connections.