|There was agreement that such a project
was possible, but the reality was a long and exhausting fight away. It
wasn't until 1968
that Congress okayed what we know today as the Central
Arizona Project. President Johnson signed the bill into law and today that
pipeline is almost completed to Phoenix, and due to be in Tucson by 1989.
What is CAP? It's a massive, expensive ($1.5 billion)
project to carry water from the Colorado River through huge concrete aqueducts
to Central and Southern Arizona. It is necessary because, especially in
the South, there is not enough water underground to sustain the kind of
growth that is anticipated in the next 10 to 20 years. The CAP will supplement
natural water supplies and will help provide water for cities, the Indians,
industry and farmers and ranchers.
The project consists of three sections: the first,
beginning at the California border at Parker, and stretching to Phoenix,
is called the Granite Reef Section. The second is the Salt-Gila Section,
and the third is the Tucson Section. Granite Reef is virtually complete;
Salt-Gila is in the beginning stages of construction and the Tucson portion
is undergoing design and environmental impact studies.
Congressional approval of the project didn't eliminate
all the obstacles for CAP, and since 1968, dozens of issues we never thought
about have cropped up and have had to be resolved.
But we have always had a spirit of civility and
cooperation among those in public service in Arizona, and nowhere did that
team spirit come into stronger play than during the weeks we reached an
alternative decision about the proposed construction of Orme Dam. Everyone
involved agreed that Phoenix needs structures for flood control and storage
of CAP water. But building Orme Dam would have meant relocating the Ft.
McDowell Indian tribe.
It also would have meant that the American Bald
Eagle, our national bird, would have lost one of its remaining natural
habitats. Several of us involved with CAP believed that the situation called
for a compromise.
Last year, we hammered out an agreement: dams
would be built instead on the Aqua Fria and Verde Rivers, instead of at
the Orme site. I am proud to have played a part in that process, and I'm
pleased with the candid give-and-take that let us arrive at a fair decision.
It's that kind of effort that has kept this project moving, and on schedule.
The Tucson Section of CAP will be coming along
next year or so and Interior Secretary James Watt and the rest of the Arizona
congressional delegation agreed with my recommendations about the size
and location of the end of the Tucson Section of the pipe (which will be
on the San Xavier Indian Reservation). And the Bureau of Reclamation is
hard at work studying several Tucson routes for the pipeline.
Tucson needs the CAP to buy time. Breathing time.
It can provide enough of a margin to allow the city to ease up on pumping
of the underground water supply, and give that reservoir a chance to replenish
The CAP is not a "greening of the desert's" project,
and it isn't even the whole water answer. It is part of the answer. It
will give Tucson and Arizona a critical second chance. With strong state
and local efforts to manage our water in the future, it can work.
Dam Safety Reclamation Act
Floods that ravaged Phoenix a couple of years
ago came as a result of unusually heavy rains, coupled with a solid
|winter snow high in the northern mountains.
The rain and an early Spring thaw sent the Salt River over its banks and
floodwaters rushing across Phoenix.
Luckily, injury to people was far less than damage
to property, but those floods left Phoenicians especially mindful that
the two principal dams on the Salt, the Theodore Roosevelt and the Stewart
Mountain, are situated close to the city.
The Roosevelt, erected on the Salt River east
of Phoenix, was the first-federally-financed dam built in the United States.
Its construction forever altered the future of Phoenix, and it remains
critically important to the city today.
Since the first construction project, the U.S.
Bureau of Reclamation has built dozens of dams throughout the country like
the Roosevelt (and the Stewart Mountain), most of them in the West. And
today, many of those dams, including the two above Phoenix, are in need
Back when both dams were built, engineers had
a limited amount of weather and earthquake-forecasting information at their
disposal. But they used what they had at hand, and both dams were designed
accordingly. In the 70 years since, much more complete and sophisticated
information has become available, and engineers have now revised their
thinking about how much water might fill the Roosevelt or Stewart Mountain
reservoirs at a given moment.
Engineers now believe that the Roosevelt dam ought
to be increased in height, both to strengthen the dam and to allow the
safe release of water through spillways. The engineers also believe that
the spillways of the Stewart Mountain dam need to be enlarged.
Congress authorized $100 million for dam repairs
in 1978. But since that time, the Bureau of Reclamation has identified
more dams that need work and construction costs have increased. Along with
other members of the Arizona congressional delegation, I introduced legislation
in this Congress to allow for the additional money to make the needed repairs
on all the dams, including the Roosevelt and Stewart Mountain.
I consider this legislation absolutely vital and
will work for passage this year.
Southern Arizona Waters Rights
Imagine turning on your faucet, filling a glass
with water and realizing that you just added $100 to your water bill. Consider
a $500 shower, a $900 bath or a $1,200 car wash. Far-fetched? Yes, but
Since 1975, Tucson and Pima County have faced
a lawsuit brought by the United States to protect water owned by the Papago
That suit named almost 1800 local water users
as defendants, and until the question of how much water the Papagos are
entitled to is settled, it will be impossible to map a good water future
for the Greater Tucson area.
What if the suit, on the other hand, were not
settled out of court?
A court case could drag on for years -- time is
expensive, and a court could rule that the mines, farms and the city should
shut their wells so the Indians could have their water. The future of the
city and commerce could literally die of thirst.
That's why I believe it's pretty important for
the Congress to act quickly on a piece of legislation called the Southern
Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act, which I introduced last year. It came
as a result of a truly extraordinary effort on