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New State Water Initiative Announced by Office of the Arizona Governor

On October 5th, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced a new two-track water initiative for the state that would “help ensure the certainty and vitality of Arizona’s water supply long into the future.” This initiative is based off of the goals published in Arizona’s 2014 Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability Report, which created a framework for the development of strategies such as this one to address projected imbalances between water availability and demand over the next 100 years. The newly released initiative will involve two primary components of action, referred to as “tracks” in a press release from the governor’s office.

The first track of the initiative will be to prioritize the 22 geographic planning regions identified in the 2014 report, beginning with rural areas. The state will refine issues causing supply and demand imbalances, identify strategies that will be successful in each planning area, and work with local stakeholders to create solutions that Arizona can then implement to meet future water demands.

The second track will consist of a governor-appointed team headed by Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Thomas Buschatzke. Appointees will be experts in water, Arizona agriculture, mining, agribusiness, homebuilding, watershed health groups, and government. They will investigate long-term augmentation strategies for the 22 planning areas, explore additional water conservation opportunities, and identify infrastructure shortfalls. Ultimately the team will be required to produce a report for the governor with policy direction or statutory changes Arizona should take going forward.

The governor has made it known that citizens will be central to continued stewardship of Arizona water resources, including in this initiative, “All Arizonans have a role and responsibility to play in the future of this great state, and a strong water supply will be central to that future.”

In a related matter, on October 16th, Governor Ducey spoke at the Water, Technology, and Environment Exhibition and Conference (WATEC) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on the topic of water as it related to Arizona’s management of the Colorado River. Governor Ducey made clear that Colorado River supplies are a top priority, “One of the biggest challenges facing Arizona is managing the Colorado River, which supplies 40 percent of our annual water supply.” While the Governor did not discuss the challenges in detail, it is likely it will be at the top of priorities both in relation to the 2014 Strategic Vision and the new water initiative.


Written by Stratecon Staff