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Feuding Water Agencies To Meet Next Week

Central Arizona Project canal
Arizona Public Media
file | contributor
A portion of the Central Arizona Project canal snakes through the Arizona desert.

A short joint statement could lead to a big breakthrough. The Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Central Arizona Water Conservation District said they’ll begin talks with each other and then grow to include others.

Here's the text of the statement:

ADWR and CAWCD are committed to bringing DCP to closure in Arizona by addressing a broad range of issues that respect the concerns of all stakeholders across the State. The discussions between ADWR and CAWCD are only the first step in a process that will expand to include participation by stakeholders.

At a Thursday board meeting, CAWCD’s General Manager Ted Cooke was asked if this was an olive branch. “We’re meeting next week to start the fresh conversation,” Cooke replied.

The two agencies have been publicly feuding over the future of state water policy. One argument is over which agency has the power to declare when certain conserved water stays on Lake Mead.

Their dispute needs to conclude in order for Arizona to ink a deal with other states in the Colorado River Basin. The states are trying to finalize a plan for what to do if and when there’s a shortage on the river.

Bret Jaspers was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2017 to 2020.