It is an amazing engineering marvel that bisects the state 336 miles, starting at Lake Havasu and ending up south of Tucson.

Its called the Central Arizona Project, a $4 billion endeavor that provides Colorado River water to more than 80% of the states population, in Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties.

Its also one of the ways in which we have good water management in Arizona, according to its Director of Operations, Power and Engineering, Brian Buzard.

Construction of CAP started in 1973 and took nearly two decades to complete its system of tunnels, pumping plants, pipelines and aqueducts.

The infrastructure itself hasnt changed a whole lot, Buzard said. The canal is remotely operated from our control center in Phoenix.

In the Tucson area, we have the Twin Peaks Pumping Plant in Marana, where CAP water initially arrives from a canal into a reservoir, also known as a forebay.

From the forebay, trash rakes filter out medium-and-large-sized debris before the water enters the plant through intakes.

Once inside the plant, the water flows uphill and the plant serves as a lift point.

The water ends up stored at the Central Avra Valley Storage and Recovery Program, recharge basins west of Tucson that allow CAP water to migrate to the groundwater table. The water is then pumped back out to a treatment plant in Tucson, where it makes its way to Tucson homes and businesses, according to the CAP website.

Tucson stores about 144 thousand acre-feet of water a year there. Other entities, Oro Valley, Metro Water, Vail, also store water there.

The operation has proven to be effective.

Its already been here for about 30 years delivering water, Buzard said.

The hope is to continue serving Arizonans with clean, safe water for many more years to come.