Carefree Water

Stage Two Drought Declaration

On December 6, the Carefree Water Board elevated the Town’s Drought Preparation Plan to Stage Two (Intermediate Drought Conditions).  The change was prompted by continued deterioration of the Colorado River system and the Town’s reliance for most of its water on the Central Arizona Project (CAP), a component of that system.

Stage Two in the Water Plan aims to achieve a voluntary 10% reduction of water use.  In its initial phase, Stage Two will emphasize reduced outdoor water use.  Some mandatory provisions (time-based watering limitations, winter overseeding prohibition) have been deferred for now but could be imposed later if water supply conditions worsen.

In addition to CAP, Carefree is a priority user of the Carefree Sub-Basin, the aquifer that is located primarily below the Town.  The Carefree Aquifer level has risen nearly 100 feet in the past twenty years, largely due to recharge initiatives.  Though it is a valuable resource that diversifies the Carefree supply, maximum withdrawals will never be sufficient to supplant CAP as Carefree’s main water supply.

Water storage in the Colorado River system (Lake Powell and Lake Mead) is currently at about 25% of the volume stored in 2000 and is still dropping quickly.  A “Tier 2A” shortage has already been declared for 2023 and Lake Mead may reach “Tier 2B” depth by 2024, which would mandate cuts in supply to municipalities using CAP for the first time.

Carefree Unity

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