The Phoenix City Council has approved a 40-year partnership with Salt River Project to help ensure reliable water deliveries in the future during extreme drought and shortage conditions on the Colorado River.

Under the first-of-its kind agreement, effective July 1, SRP has agreed to reserve capacity in its extensive system of wells for future use by Phoenix to recover long-term storage credits stored within the Salt River Project water service area. Water recovered through this partnership can be used anywhere within Phoenix’s Water Service Area. 

“Securing Phoenix’s water supply continues to be one of our highest priorities,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “Today, SRP and Phoenix embark on a first-of-its kind agreement that allows us to access our stored water supply through SRP’s existing well system in future times of shortage. This is another example of how cities can work with strategic partners to safeguard against continued drought and climate change.”

“Phoenix and SRP have partnered to store tens of thousands of acre-feet of water underground within the SRP water service territory, so it’s a natural partnership between Phoenix and SRP to work together to reserve the well capacity necessary to recover that water in times of shortage,” said SRP Associate General Manager/Water Resources Dave Roberts.

“This partnership represents an efficient approach to recovering water that has been stored for times of drought. Economic and efficient recovery of water previously stored underground is a critical issue facing Phoenix and other entities in the greater metropolitan area, and SRP is happy to be a part of the solution.”

During the term of the agreement, SRP will provide Phoenix up to a maximum of 20,000 acre-feet of water per year pumped from SRP’s wells located within the Salt River Reservoir District.    

Phoenix will pay a one-time fee of $12.3 million to reserve pumping capacity in SRP’s wells. In addition, Phoenix will pay SRP $55.82 for each acre-foot of water up to 100,000 acre-feet and $151.17 for each acre-foot above 100,000 acre-feet pumped by SRP for Phoenix during the term of the agreement. Those prices will be adjusted annually for inflation. 

The largest provider of water and power to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, SRP is the nation’s oldest multipurpose water reclamation project and operates and maintains an irrigation system that typically delivers more than 325 billion gallons of water to Valley municipal, industrial, agricultural and urban irrigation systems each year.

“By working with strategic and dependable partners like SRP, Phoenix continues to build resilience to ensure dependable water supplies,” said Councilwoman Thelda Williams, chair of the Phoenix City Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.

Working with cities such as Phoenix, SRP has developed two groundwater recharge facilities to ensure a reliable and adequate water supply for the beneficial use of its shareholders – landowners in SRP’s service territory and the 10 Valley municipalities that treat water and deliver it to homes and businesses. Its system of dams, canals and groundwater wells allows SRP to store water during wet periods so that it has enough to meet demand during the dry periods that are common in the desert.