A little history from Tucson’s CAP entitlement
Chapter 15: My Experience in City Government, pgs 216-217
(Don Hummel was Mayor of Tucson from 1955 to 1962)
I have previously discussed the problem of the acquisition of private water companies and expansion of the city water system. One day I received a phone call from the head of the Central Arizona Project Committee, asking me and the council to meet with them in Phoenix for a briefing of the Central Arizona Project. During the briefing they indicated that they planned to reestablish this project, which had been turned down as too expensive for agricultural support, by changing the financial support base from agricultural to urban. In other words, they could not justify the great cost of building the Project on the basis of fees coming from agricultural use. It would have to be changed to water fees for urban use, which brings a much higher rate. During the discussion it was apparent that there was nothing planned in the revised project to bring water to Tucson, although Tucson was included in the financial support.
I questioned this and was informed that this was designated by the government as a “Central” Arizona project. By bringing Southern Arizona into it, the federal government might take the position that this was an entirely new project which could cause them to lose the opportunity to reestablish and take advantage of al the work that had been done. I said, “Does this mean Tucson is not to be included as a part of this project?” The answer was yes, we would have to rely on the “good faith” of the people who were erecting the Central Arizona Project. We could not become a part of the original program.
I stood up and speaking to the Tucson council and city manager, said, “Gentlemen, we have heard enough. Let’s go home.” The committee chairman said, “Sit down, sit down—and we will talk about it.” They urged us to stay and discuss the matter further, so we did. We were adamant that they could not use Tucson to support their program unless we were included in the original project. They subsequently agreed that Tucson would be included, with a canal to bring water into this area. Our allocation would be 100,000 acre feet of water per year. With that, Tucson was designated as a part of the Central Arizona Project.
It was sometime later, when I was serving in Washington, D.C. as Assistant Secretary of HUD [1966-69], that I got a telephone call from Tom Chandler, who was the attorney for some big mining companies. He stated that they were disturbed that the then city council was reluctant to sign a Letter of Intent agreeing to take 100,000 acre feet of water. They felt the water would be too expensive. Tom asked if I could come out and, if not, at least prepare a statement to be read at the hearing, as the mining community and other organizations were alarmed with the city council’s stand. I prepared such a statement and I understand it was presented at the hearing. The council signed the Letter of Intent, saving Tucson’s interest in the Central Arizona Project. Now I understand that I am among those who are to be honored for their participation in bringing the Central Arizona Project to fruition.