Markets for Federal Water: Subsidies, Property Rights, and the Bureau of Reclamation

By Richard W. Wahl | Go to book overview

8
Water Transfer Possibilities Involving the Central Arizona Project

The Central Arizona Project (CAP) was designed to carry water from the Colorado River more than 200 miles to the cities of Phoenix and Tucson, as well as to about seventy other municipalities; twenty irrigation districts; and twelve Indian tribes. The Secretary of the Interior, who has general jurisdiction over water allocation on the Colorado River, was given specific responsibility for determining the allocation of CAP water among these entities. Naturally, their water demands are likely to change over time; however, the CAP contracts with the Bureau of Reclamation are poorly suited to transferring allocated water among contractors. This chapter explores the problem and recommends changes in the present contract provisions that would facilitate such water transfers.


History of the Central Arizona Project

Of the 7.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water allocated to the Lower Basin by the Colorado River Compact, the Boulder Canyon Act of 1928 allocated 2.8 million acre-feet to Arizona, 4.4 million acre-feet to California, and 0.3 million acre-feet to Nevada. However, Arizona had no practical means to divert much of its share except for some diversions to low-lying lands along the Colorado River in the Yuma

____________________
This chapter is based on a discussion paper entitled "The Possibility of Voluntary Market Transfer of Central Arizona Project Water," prepared by Robert W. Johnson of the Bureau of Reclamation for the Office of Policy Analysis, U.S. Department of the Interior ( August 1986).

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