Election will change makeup of Central Arizona Project board – The Arizona Republic

Voters are filling five seats on the board of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the agency that oversees the CAP Canal, and at least three of those seats will go to newcomers.
As the vote count continued Thursday, incumbents Alexandra Arboleda and Ben Graff sat atop a crowded field of 14 candidates, but the margins for the rest remain razor thin. Three candidates, Ylenia Aguilar, Amanda Monize and Barbara Seago, were crowded together to round out the top five, but others were still close.
The five top vote-getters will serve six-year terms on the board, which includes members from Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties, the three areas served by the CAP Canal.
The canal delivers water from the Colorado River to cities surrounding Phoenix and Tucson and to agricultural users in Pinal County, although growers there have been forced to give up most of their allocations because of shortages on the river.
Election Day coverage: Arizona election results
The district board oversees the canal’s operations and finances, setting water rates and property taxes in the three counties. The taxes help the district repay its obligation to the federal government, which built the 336-mile canal.
Five seats on the board come up for election every other year. This year, three incumbents — Jennifer Brown, Jim Holway and Mark Lewis — did not seek another term.
The board is nonpartisan, though slates of candidates connected to a political party or movement have emerged in recent elections. This year, four candidates ran as a team, pledging to focus on accountability and the protection of taxpayers and farmers.
‘There’s simply not enough water’:Colorado River cutbacks ripple across Arizona
The board’s attention has turned increasingly to the drought-stricken Colorado River and its two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, where dwindling water levels have forced the system into a second year of shortages.
In Arizona, the CAP has absorbed almost all of the shortages so far, which means the district continues to face tough decisions about how to manage the water that continues to flow through the canal. So far, most of the losses have hit farmers in Pinal County, but if shortages deepen, the board could find itself facing further cutbacks.
Arizona agreed to accept lower-priority water rights to the water in the CAP canal as part of a deal with other states when the project was approved by Congress.
The 14 candidates on the ballot include:
Incumbents Arboleda, a water attorney, and Graff, a land-use lawyer; Aguilar, a development manager; Lisa Bullington, a real estate lawyer; Alan Dulaney, a hydrogeologist; Shelby Duplessis, a land development executive; Jason Lundgren, a chiropractor; Cory Mishkin, a real estate broker; Monize, an educator; Donovan Neese, a civil engineer; Pederson, a retail developer; Karen Peters, a deputy city manager for Phoenix; Barbara Seago, a software engineer; and Daniel Cirignani Wood, a business analyst.


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