Central Arizona Project

Central Arizona Project

The Central Arizona Project (CAP) is a 336 mi (541 km) diversion canal in Arizona in the United States. The aqueduct diverts water from the Colorado River from Lake Havasu City near Parker into central and southern Arizona. The CAP is the largest and most expensive aqueduct system ever constructed in the United States. CAP is managed and operated by the Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD).


The CAP delivers Colorado River water, either directly or by exchange, into central and southern Arizona. The project was designed to provide water to nearly one million acres (4,000 km²) of irrigated agricultural land areas in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties, as well as municipal water for several Arizona communities, including the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson. Authorization also was included for development of facilities to deliver water to Catron, Hidalgo, and Grant counties in New Mexico, but these facilities have not been constructed because of cost considerations, a lack of demand for the water, lack of repayment capability by the users, and environmental constraints. In addition to its water supply benefits, the project also provides substantial benefits from power generation, flood control, outdoor recreation, fish and wildlife conservation, and sediment control. The project was subdivided, for administration and construction purposes, into the Granite Reef, Orme, Salt-Gila, Gila River, Tucson, Indian Distribution, and Colorado River divisions. During project construction, the Orme Division was re-formulated and renamed the Regulatory Storage Division. Upon completion, the Granite Reef Division was re-named the Hayden-Rhodes Aqueduct, and the Salt-Gila Division was renamed the Fannin-McFarland Aqueduct.


The CAP was created by the Colorado River Basin Project Act of 1968. This Act provided for the Secretary of the Interior to enter into an agreement with non-federal interests, whereby the federal government acquired the right to 24.3 percent of the power produced at the non-federal Navajo Generating Station, Navajo Project. The agreement also includes the delivery of power and energy over the transmission facilities to delivery points within the Central Arizona Project service area.

Construction of the project began in 1973 with the award of a contract for the Havasu Intake Channel Dike and excavation for the Havasu Pumping Plant (now Mark Wilmer Pumping Plant) on the shores of Lake Havasu. Construction of the other project features followed. The backbone aqueduct system, which runs about 336 miles (541 km) from Lake Havasu to a terminus 14 mi (22.5 km) southwest of Tucson, was declared substantially complete in 1993. The new and modified dams constructed as part of the project were declared substantially complete in 1994. All of the non-Indian agricultural water distribution systems were completed in the late 1980s, as were most of the municipal water delivery systems. Several Indian distribution systems remain to be built; it is estimated that full development of these systems could require another 10 to 20 years.

The final extension to Tucson required a borehole through the mountains.

See also

* Aqueduct
* List of canals in the United States

External links

* [http://www.cap-az.com/ C
* [http://www.geo.cornell.edu/geology/classes/Geo101/graphics/CAP.gifAlternate photo of the canal]

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