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Index to Area Offices
Brief Description of the FSP
Phoenix AO Water Conservation

FY1998
Field Services Program

Mary Brechler or Leslie Meyer

General Background

The Setting
Statutory Mandates
Beneficial Use

The Program

Activities
Environmental Compliance
Area Offices
Goals and Results

PXAO FY98 FSP Plan

Location
Water Supply and Users
Problems and Opportunities
FY 98 Plan Chart

 

The Setting

The Bureau of Reclamation's Lower Colorado Region consists of portions of Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, California, and Arizona. Regional and Area Office staff administer Colorado River entitlements amounting to 7.5 million acre feet annually. Water districts in the region started developing water conservation plans in 1987. In recent years, Reclamation has facilitated significant water savings in all four areas of the Region by applying various measures, including water metering, canal lining, mobile water laboratories, and public education. In 1995 water users utilized the full 7.5 million acre feet allocation, providing all stakeholders significant incentive for further implementing prudent water management. The Region contains some of the most intensively irrigated rural acreage and many of the most heavily populated urban settlements on the planet. Considerable opportunities remain for engaging a wide variety of water conservation measures.

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Statutory Mandates

Section 210(a) of the Reclamation Reform Act of 1982 requires the Secretary of Interior to encourage water users to adopt water conservation measures. Section 210(b) requires each water district to develop a water conservation plan. By law, the water conservation plan shall contain definite goals, appropriate water conservation measures, and a time table for meeting water conservation objectives. Section 210(c) directs the Secretary to coordinate with and involve others in water conservation efforts. In addition, part 417 of Title 43, Code of Federal Regulations, directs the Lower Colorado Region to consult with Colorado River water users each year regarding water conservation and the reasonable beneficial use of Colorado River water.

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Beneficial Use

Reclamation determination of reasonable beneficial use is based upon several factors, including climatic conditions, location, land classification, the types of crops raised, cropping practices, the condition of water conveyance facilities, record of ordered water, operating efficiencies and methods, irrigation practices, municipal water requirements, and the pertinent provisions of a contractor's Boulder Canyon Project Act water delivery contract.

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Activities

In order to enhance water conservation efforts the Bureau of Reclamation has budgeted 800 thousand dollars in FY 98 to implement Water Conservation Field Service Program activities in the Lower Colorado Region. The program will, at a minimum, include activities in the following areas: Conservation Planning Assistance, Conservation Demonstrations, Conservation Measure Implementation, Education, Training, and Technology Transfer.

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Environmental Compliance

Reclamation will assist districts to develop and implement effective, environmentally sound water conservation plans and practices, in full compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Technical assistance that can be considered general, day-to-day, and limited in scope, will generally fall within an existing Departmental NEPA categorical exclusion covering such routine informational technical assistance activities. If Reclamation enters a formal agreement to provide technical or financial assistance in the preparation or implementation of district plans, Reclamation will address the need for specific NEPA compliance and documentation prior to providing such assistance. If Reclamation provides a district with technical assistance to evaluate or demonstrate a water conservation measure, Reclamation will address appropriate NEPA compliance as described above for conservation planning assistance, depending on whether such technical assistance is furnished as a matter of general routine or as an element of a specific agreement. Reclamation will assist districts to develop and implement effective, environmentally sound water conservation plans and practices, in full compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Technical assistance that can be considered general, day-to-day, and limited in scope, will generally fall within an existing Departmental NEPA categorical exclusion covering such routine informational technical assistance activities. If Reclamation enters a formal agreement to provide technical or financial assistance in the preparation or implementation of district plans, Reclamation will address the need for specific NEPA compliance and documentation prior to providing such assistance. If Reclamation provides a district with technical assistance to evaluate or demonstrate a water conservation measure, Reclamation will address appropriate NEPA compliance as described above for conservation planning assistance, depending on whether such technical assistance is furnished as a matter of general routine or as an element of a specific agreement.

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Area Offices

Each Lower Colorado Region area office has developed a Field Services Program Plan that will facilitate and verify reasonable beneficial use of Colorado River water. Each area office plan contains the following: priority goals, measures, target dates, agency involvement, cost, Federal employment needed, and results.

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Goals and Results

The goals were developed by publicly soliciting input from stakeholders, then expressing these proposals in an objective, quantifiable and measurable form. Results were defined in a similar manner. For instance, a goal may to be develop five water district conservation plans by July 1997. The quantified results would be the number of water district conservation plans developed by that date. This objectively defined process will allow for uniform measurement of new water conservation practices in each water district and summation of these practices nation wide.

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Location

The Phoenix Area Office (PXAO) represents central and southeastern Arizona which encompasses the major metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson, along with many rural and agricultural communities. The region is defined by the hydraulic boundary of the Gila River drainage basin in western New Mexico and extends east to Painted Rock Dam. The northern boundary includes the Bill Williams drainage basin and stretches south including the entire Gila River drainage to the international border with Mexico. The topography varies from heavily forested mountains on the Mogollon Rim to the low lying desert in the central and southern portions of the state.

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Water Supply

The regional water supply is made up of three major components; surface water, groundwater, and Central Arizona Project (CAP) water. Surface water, developed predominantly by the CAP and the Salt River Project on the Salt and Verde Rivers in the metropolitan Phoenix area, has historically been used for agricultural purposes but in recent years has been converted to more M&I uses. The Central Arizona Project services 64 municipal and industrial customers, ten agricultural districts and ten Native American entities. The White Mountain Apache tribe is the only Native American community within the area office boundary that does not have a CAP allocation. Surface water in the state is extremely limited, thus, most communities outside the CAP service area are completely dependent on groundwater. The metropolitan Tucson area, though within the CAP service area, still utilizes groundwater to meet their water needs.

Due to the major reliance on ground water and in order to protect the resource, the state of Arizona adopted a groundwater code in 1980 which regulates pumping within certain districts, or Active Management Areas (AMA) within the state. These AMAs are defined and regulated by the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and are located in the most populated and largest groundwater pumping areas of the state. There are currently five AMAs; Phoenix, Tucson, Pima County, Pinal County, and Prescott.

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Problems and Opportunities

The PXAO Field Services program serves two diverse purposes. The first is to work with the agricultural districts to improve irrigation efficiencies and to provide technical assistance in the preparation of comprehensive water conservation plans. The second purpose is to develop partnerships with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the United States Geological Survey, ADWR, Phoenix and Tucson AMAs, the cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale, the Indian communities and the University of Arizona to research and develop more efficient agriculture and urban water uses. We intend to work with ADWR and the AMAs to augment their grant programs which provide research funding to local entities.

A major focus of the plan is supporting the Arizona State Department of Water Resources and their respective Active Management Areas in the development and funding of water conservation related programs. In addition we will be involved in the development of the Third Active Management Plan that the State will used in further implementing the 1980 Groundwater Management Act. In order to promote more efficient irrigation water use, we are partnering with the local Natural Resource Conservation Districts to provide on farm water assessments to the local irrigators. As part of that program, we will be cosponsoring a field day to meet with the irrigators to discuss the project and get their feed back on our efforts. In addition to the above, we plan to work closely with the Indian communities and assist them in completing as-built surveys and hydraulic analyses of the distribution systems.

A portion of our effort will also target domestic water use. The plan focusses its efforts in the area on public education. Educational opportunities vary from assisting in the development of a coloring book that is targeted for elementary education students reflecting conservation as it applies to the desert southwest, to assisting in the development of water conservation information in community events and are making our resources and personnel available to them upon request.

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Phoenix Area Office
Field Services Program Plan

Program Activities

PRIORITY GOALS MEASURES TARGET COST
1.

Tech Asst

Support 2 AMA's and State in water conservation efforts

Coordinate with State and local agencies in developing and funding water conservation programs

Sept 98

$120 K

Tech Asst

NRCS education centers

Partner with USGS and NRCS on 2 education centers.

Sept 98

$20 K

2.

Tech Asst Provide information to 2% of public

ongoing development and maintenance of home page

on going

$15 K
    Develop coloring book depicting w.c. in the desert southwest

Sept 98 $30 K
    Develop info booth/pamphlets for use at public functions

Sept 98 $20K
3.

Tech Asst Water conservation plans
Coordinate development of w.c. plans for 2 Indian Tribes

Sept 98 $15,000
4.

Financial Asst
Support 2 research projects.

Cost share two research projects associated w/wc

Sept 98
$58,000
5.

Tech Asst Provide assistance for technical projects

Partnering w/NRCDs to look at irrigation efficiencies

Sept 98 $30 K
    Assist in Performing an as-built survey and hydraulic analysis of Indian Communities distribution system.

Sept 98 $55 K
    Assist 2 communities outside the Phx & Tucson areas in developing a w.c. program.

Sept 98 $20K
    Assist City of Tucson w/ Water Harvesting project.

Sept 98 $6K
6.

Tech Asst
Financial Asst


Meet w/ 2 Districts to promote w.c.

Hands on work w/ irrigation districts to promote irrigation efficiency and discuss USBR concerns with irrigators.

ongoing $30K
7.

Financial Asst
Grant Funding Process

Develop specific criteria/objectives that will assist in determining who gets funding

  $10K
TOTAL $429K

 

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