Ducey signs historic drought contingency plan

Business News | 1 Feb |

Governor Doug Ducey today signed historic legislation ratifying Arizona’s Drought Contingency Plan (DCP), marking the passage of one of the most significant pieces of water legislation in Arizona since the Groundwater Management Act of 1980. The legislation allows Arizona to join six other western states and Mexico in signing onto an inter-state water agreement and spells out ways Arizona will contribute to conserving more water from the Colorado River.

“Today is historic for Arizona,” said Governor Ducey. “The Drought Contingency Plan is the most significant water legislation passed in nearly 40 years – and it was done by putting party labels aside and putting Arizona first. But make no mistake: today marks an important step, but not the last step, needed to protect our water supply. As Arizona transitions to a drier future, we must continue to promote a culture of conservation – one that enables the unbeatable quality of life and boundless opportunity we enjoy. My thanks to President Fann, Speaker Bowers, Leaders Bradley and Fernandez, Director Buschatzke and General Manager Ted Cooke, as well as the many stakeholders and everyone who worked together to get this deal done. I look forward to building on this bipartisan success to ensure Arizona remains a leader in water conservation policies and that we can truly secure Arizona’s water future for generations to come.”

The legislation earned praise from Arizona business leaders.

“Arizona is well-positioned to deal with a reduced water supply and continue to grow through smart, responsible development,” sais Cheryl Lombard, president and CEO of Valley Partnership. “We congratulate Gov. Doug Ducey, our state legislators and the many stakeholders from around the state who worked tirelessly to find a solution that put Arizonans first and on a path to long-term water security. The viability of Arizona’s real estate development industry is closely aligned with our future water security, which made adoption of the DCP an absolute necessity to ensure future responsible development in our region.”

“On behalf of the Department of the Interior, we applaud the action of Arizona to pass legislation authorizing completion of the Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman.

The Bureau of Reclamation is a water management agency that plays a key role in water distribution at Lake Mead and throughout the country. To prepare for a water shortage declaration, Arizonans from across the state negotiated a new Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) that makes voluntary reductions in water use in exchange for a more sustainable water future.

“This is an historic day for Arizona and with this huge step forward, we are more optimistic than ever that all seven Colorado River Basin States will put a plan in place to protect the Basin this year,”Burman said. “Today represents an important day for all Arizonans – they should be proud of their water leaders.”

Governor Ducey today also issued an Executive Order creating the Water Augmentation, Innovation, and Conservation Council. The council, comprised of legislative leadership, the director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and other appointees, will recommend opportunities for long-term water conservation, continuing Arizona’s proactive approach to securing our state’s water supply.

“This next step helps ensure Arizona has the clean, reliable water supply we need to thrive,” said Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema. “Now, I’ll work in the Senate to get this done for Arizona.” 

Background

Facing a 19-year drought, Arizona along with six other western states and Mexico were tasked with developing a plan by January 31 to conserve more water in Lake Mead, from which Arizona gets nearly 40 percent of its water.

Since July 28, 2018, 40 stakeholders representing diverse interests from across Arizona have worked to develop what’s known as the Drought Contingency Plan. The plan balances water reductions in the state to ensure no one user is taking the brunt.

Two bills that enable Arizona to ratify the Drought Contingency Plan were signed by Governor Ducey today:

* One authorizes ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke to sign onto the interstate Drought Contingency Plan on behalf of Arizona.

* The other allows for certain water stakeholders within Arizona to make agreements on water usage rights and provides $30 million for Lake Mead conservation, $2 million for ground water conservation and $9 million for Pinal County agriculture infrastructure projects.

For more information on the Drought Contingency Plan, click HERE.

For DCP By The Numbers, click HERE.

To view the Executive Order creating the Governor’s Water Augmentation, Innovation, and Conservation Council, click HERE.

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