New general manager Brenda Burman leads Central Arizona Project
Central Arizona Project delivers water to Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties. More than 5 million people, or more than 80% of the state’s population, live in those counties, where Central Arizona Project (CAP) water is delivered. CAP carries water from Lake Havasu near Parker to the southern boundary of the San Xavier Indian Reservation southwest of Tucson.
It is a 336-mile-long system of aqueducts, tunnels, pumping plants and pipelines. Brenda Burman is the new General Manager and the first woman to hold the position. Previously, she worked across the water community in private legal practice, as the water and energy counsel for U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, as senior water policy advisor for The Nature Conservancy and in senior positions for water districts, including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Salt River Project.
What is the state of CAP?
“We are strong. What we know is that our water is the Colorado River. That’s what we bring to the six million customers that we have, including 11 tribes. The Colorado River has been in a 23-year drought, exacerbated by climate change. That’s difficult to deal with, but we have incredible infrastructure, and that’s how we’ve been able to move forward so far,” Burman said.
The wetness Arizona and the Rocky Mountains have experienced this previous winter has been amazing for the Colorado River. Lake Powell has been going up by a foot or more a day, and Lake Mead has gone up almost 10 feet in the last two months, according to Burman.
Recent water conservation agreement
The encouraging, short-term voluntary water conservation agreement between Arizona, Nevada and California is a very positive sign, Burman said.
“We have a great history on the Colorado River of coming together, both inside Arizona and with our fellow states when we see risk, uncertainty or trouble. This has been no exception. It was difficult to get there, but Arizona, Nevada and California put forward a lower basin consensus proposal,” Burman said.