Arizona's new "water bank" made a big transaction Friday as the governor and state water officials signed agreements to store much of this year's unused allotment of Colorado River water in aquifers.
The 260,000 acre-feet of banked water will be available to cities in case of drought or if supplies from the Colorado are reduced. And by banking the water, the state halts California from siphoning off the portion of Arizona's annual allotment of 2.8 million acre-feet that goes unused - about 500,000 acre-feet in 1996."The members of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which supplies water to Los Angeles County, Orange County and San Diego, are on notice that they have to find water internally in California," said Rita Pearson, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources.
"The bad news for them is that it's going to cost substantially more than Colorado River water, and they currently already pay about three times more than what we pay for water in Arizona," she said.
Gov. Fife Symington called Friday's agreements historic.