TUCSON (AP) Ä Central Arizona Project water won't be available in an emergency this summer, even though a minimal amount of water will be run through Tucson's CAP treatment plant to keep it operating.
That's because it would take at least 30 days before stagnant water at the plant and canal could be cleared out and fresh Colorado River water could become available for consumption, Tucson Water officials told the City Council on Monday.
The council turned off the CAP tap to Tucson earlier this year. CAP water stopped flowing from residents' taps in October because of system maintenance, but the council vowed not to bring it back until problems with smell, taste and corrosiveness were corrected.
Tucson Water officials said that will take at least a year. In the meantime, the city went back to ground water and the CAP treatment plant went dry.
The council voted 7-0 Monday to run water through the treatment plant to keep it in good working order. But the city will not take any additional CAP water, so the water in the canal will become stagnant and not immediately available.
That leaves the city with no choice but to limit residents' use of water if the groundwater system fails this summer.
Council members earlier this year voted to give themselves the authority to declare a ''water emergency'' in such a case.
In normal conditions, the city's groundwater system would be sufficient for Tucson Water's 300,000 customers.
On the peak day of last year's hot summer, Tucsonans used 141 million gallons of water.
The groundwater system can handle 135 million gallons in a single day, with access to another 100 million gallons in storage basins around the city.
The city is still looking into possibly treating some CAP water and discharging it at various places, so the CAP canal water wouldn't become stagnant.
However, permits and other agreements cannot be completed in time for the summer season, Tucson Water officials said
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