Arizona agencies investing in So Cal recycled water project

Arizona agencies investing in So Cal recycled water project

Building on increased collaboration on the Colorado River, water agencies in Southern California and Arizona have formalized a new agreement to advance the development of one of the largest water recycling plants in the country.

The Central Arizona Project and Arizona Department of Water Resources have agreed to contribute up to $6 million to environmental planning for Metropolitan Water District’s Regional Recycled Water Program. The project would purify treated wastewater and produce a new water supply for Southern California, thereby relieving pressure on the Colorado River.

“This project could help the entire Southwest. We know that eliminating the supply-demand imbalance that threatens the Colorado River will take both reducing demand, through conservation, and adding new supplies, like recycled water,” Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil said. “That’s why our partners in the Lower Basin are interested in helping us develop the project.”

The initial investment from Arizona could lead to a long-term agreement with the agencies to help fund the project’s construction and operation – helping offset the project’s significant cost for Metropolitan – in exchange for Colorado River water, Hagekhalil said. But more research and planning must be conducted before such a long-term partnership could be developed, he added.

“We are eager to further our partnership with the Metropolitan Water District to collaboratively explore and develop opportunities to improve the long-term reliability and resiliency of our shared resource – the Colorado River,” said Central Arizona Project General Manager Ted Cooke.

If fully developed, the $3.4 billion project would produce up to 150 million gallons daily, enough to serve more than 500,000 homes.

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