Attorney Stanley Pollack has set up Navajo for failure. CAP describes costly future water options

URGENT NEWS: Attorney Stanley Pollack has set up Navajo for failure to be behind the 8-ball in all this, rather than a regional leader that could have asserted its rights and led a way to direct Navajo participation in the future, rather then being a door mat. CAP describes costly future water options.

CAP describes costly future water options

Tony Davis Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:00 am | Comments

Specifics of the plan

• By 2015, the goal would be for the Central Arizona Project to buy the first 50,000 acre-feet of additional water. The CAP would acquire another 50,000 acre-feet every five years.

• Water users such as cities, farms, mining companies and developers who buy this new water would be responsible for paying all of its costs.

• River-area farmers’ water is considered desirable by anyone needing water because the farmers have a higher priority for getting the river water than does the CAP, which would be the first major user in the three lower-basin states of the Colorado River to get cut off from using river water in times of shortage.

• The brackish groundwater that could be used by the CAP would come from the Buckeye area and other areas west and southwest of Phoenix. The other groundwater would come from the Harquahala and McMullen valleys, which are west of Phoenix.

• Desalination of seawater from the Gulf of California or elsewhere is not part

PHOENIX – High-cost desalinated brackish groundwater, Western Arizona groundwater and Colorado River water owned by farmers surfaced on Wednesday as the state’s next potential watering holes.

Central Arizona Project officials laid out these options as ways to provide more water in case CAP supplies run short and to serve population growth.

In a meeting with a host of water-interest leaders, including a Tucson Water official, the CAP proposed buying about a total of 300,000 acre-feet of additional water over the next 30 years.

That’s one-fifth of the CAP’s current supply of 1.5 million acre-feet, enough to provide about 4.5 million families a year’s worth of water. To carry the extra water, the CAP’s concrete canal, which carries the water uphill from the Colorado River to Tucson and Phoenix, would need upgrading at an estimated $100 million cost, officials said.

If the demand outstripped the supply at any point, the three-county agency that runs the water project would auction the water to the highest bidder, CAP officials said. In short, the proposal amounts to water marketing, a method long proposed by many water experts to ensure that as water becomes more scarce, it is sold on the open market so it achieves its economically highest and best use.

“We wanted a system to help people believe and understand there will be water in the future over the coming decades,” Tom McCann, an assistant CAP general manager, said about the water-purchase options.

The proposal comes at a time when concerns about future CAP shortages have reached an all-time high because of the recent drop in the level of Lake Mead, where most of the water comes from. The lake is at its lowest level in 73 years.

The idea of finding additional water supplies was thought of two years ago by CAP officials and users at a time when a bigger concern was finding more water to serve future growth. But now the shortage question is looming larger.

The prospect of what one observer called “sticker shock” from higher water costs compared with current CAP water costs made some predict that conservation-based technologies such as water harvesting, gray water and low-flow toilets will get more popular.

More than 50 representatives of cities, farms and development groups greeted the presentation by CAP official McCann with a flood of questions, some friendly and some skeptical.

Afterward, Tucson Water Chief Counsel Chris Avery said that while the proposal raises questions, city of Tucson officials are interested in obtaining additional supplies of CAP water despite the cost.

“This is our next renewable water supply. The costs are expected to be high, but it’s something we expected in any renewable supply. It’s something we have to do prudently,” Avery said.

David Modeer, the former Tucson Water director who now is CAP’s general manager, said the additional supplies’ costs aren’t known for sure today. But desalinated brackish groundwater could cost $500 to $600 an acre-foot, for instance. Buying water from farmers along the Colorado could cost up to $3,000 to $6,000 an acre-foot, he said.

“Modeer said he didn’t know exactly how much more the costly water would increase a utility customer’s monthly bill.

CAP water, for instance, costs users of the water about $120 per acre-foot. But he said the extra water would exponentially increase the cost to cities and other users.

“You’ll notice it. If you have an increase in costs of several million dollars to acquire it, for instance, it will raise water rates maybe in the 5 to 10 percent range,” Modeer said.

Val Little, director of the Water Conservation Alliance of Southern Arizona, said, “I think we’re about to have a big, big episode of sticker shock.”

Contact reporter Tony Davis at or 806-7746.

Copyright 2010 Arizona Daily Star.

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  15. Yael Begaye (psedu) on June 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm said:

    The Navajo Nation lawyer by the name of Stanley Pollack ought to resign from his post as representative for the water commission project for the Navajo Nation S-2109. Mr Pollack clearly does not, yes, does not, represent the Navajo tribe. He lacks understanding of the common Navajo interests and their long-range view of what harm this S-2109 poses to their future. Pollack respresents only a few among the massive population of the Dine’ Navajo communities, i.e., Mr Shelley for one. Mr Pollack’s sole interest lies with politicians of Arizona and water commissions of non-Indian interests, as well as businesses/ corporate entities who overtly express share of water resources, but covertly have no goal to share the resource in the long run. Historically, Navajo Indians are among certain peoples of the earth who have suffered from bigotry and destruction of culture and as a people faced hardship beyond description, i.e., 1860s allotted lands. The Jewish people suffered the same type of hardships of various forms throughout the ages, i.e., holocaust of WWII. Today, they are still working to instill peace in Eretz. Might Stanley Pollack try to conceive an idea of what S-2109 and other ideas are doing to the Navajo people?

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