Water board election a dry topic for most voters

Colorado River, August 19, 2007/Photo by Central Arizona Project

 

By Katie Campbell | Arizona Capitol Times

Candidates for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District board aren’t running for the sexiest elected office in the state. They aren’t likely to be the subject of many headlines locally, let alone nationally. They aren’t going to attract millions in campaign contributions. They aren’t paid. And they aren’t going to be on stage with political superstars.

They are, however, going to be responsible for ensuring 1.5 million acre-feet of water from the Colorado River gets to central Arizona. One acre-foot of water, or the amount of water needed to cover an acre of land to a depth of one foot, works out to 326,000 gallons. That means the CAWCD, which governs the Central Arizona Project, a 336-mile system of channels, pipelines and pumping stations that move water, has been entrusted with about 489 billion gallons of water for more than 5 million people living in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties – or about 80 percent of the state’s population.

Yet the board elections have never quite managed to capture the widespread attention of voters.

Terry Goddard, who was elected to the board in 2012 and is up for reelection in November, said the CAWCD is part of a complicated puzzle that isn’t for everyone.

“At the risk of being over-simplistic and trite, water is a dry topic,” he said.

Goddard is one of three incumbents running for reelection this year, including current CAWCD Board President Lisa Atkins and Heather Macre.

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