Meet the candidates who want to maintain a critical water infrastructure for the Valley

A number of experts came together to create a voter education guide for upcoming Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board election.
A number of experts came together to create a voter education guide for upcoming Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board election.
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 5:25 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- While the governor’s race in Arizona is just one that’s dominating headlines this election, in November voters will weigh in on positions that make crucial decisions when it comes to our water supply. And it’s a race you may not be familiar with!

That’s why a number of experts came together to create a nonpartisan voter education guide highlighting the candidates running to serve on the Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) Board. There are 14 to choose from for the five open positions in Maricopa County. The board may have a long title, but experts say it comes with an important job. It’s responsible for operating and maintaining the Central Arizona Project. That’s the 336-mile canal system that brings Colorado River water, in part, to the Valley.

The Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA) and the Arizona Hydrological Society created the guide to help all of us understand what’s at stake here.

“With the Colorado River situation worsening, we need Board members who will be engaged and committed to protecting this vital water supply and infrastructure,” said Warren Tenney, the executive director of AMWUA.

The guide goes over questions and answers from the candidates and the decisions the board may make in our area, including how they can impact on our property taxes. “It’s responsible for repaying a big federal loan that was given in order to build the infrastructure of the CAP, and they also have the power to levy property taxes. So we thought, this is a more important board than maybe a lot of people realize and it would be helpful for people to have information,” said Sarah Porter, the director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy.

The questions for the candidates include the following: “why are you running for the CAWCD Board?” and “what are the biggest challenges facing the Central Arizona Project?”

Porter says this comes as we are at an inflection point with water in Arizona and it’s important to understand the kinds of decisions we have about water ahead of us. That includes looking at the options for developing new water supplies and ways to be more efficient. After historic cuts were announced recently, Arizona is joining other states, tribes and Mexico in adjusting how much water we use from the Colorado River, probably indefinitely into the future.

The positions on the board are unpaid and volunteer-based. Porter says serving as a board member is truly and act of service. “Everybody who puts themselves out to run for CAP board should be thankful for being willing to take on this massive commitment in the service of water resilience for central Arizona,” she said.

Meet the candidates and take a look at the guide here.