Arizona has an accomplished history of managing our State’s precious water resources. The history is long: beginning with the founders of the Salt River Valley Water User’s Association, the first Federal Reclamation project in the West (when Arizona was still a territory), and continuing with the precedent setting, state-driven, bipartisan groundwater management legislation of 1980 – which helped secure Federal funding for the Central Arizona Project.
Arizona’s elected and business leaders have gotten the job done of securing our State’s economic prosperity by ensuring a stable, secure, and reliable source of water in our arid desert environment.
As Arizona Republic Columnist Linda Valdez pointed out earlier this week, no one expected the Central Arizona Water Groundwater Replenishment District, which is governed by the Central Arizona Project Board, to take water from rural Arizona and give it to the larger metropolitan areas of the State. But now the CAP elected Board members, and not the Cities or the Counties in Central Arizona, find themselves at the center of the controversy. The CAP Board must decide if they wish to buy land and water in Rural Arizona outside of their three-county district and ship that water to Central Arizona.
To be sure, we need to find ways to secure water supplies to help foster future economic growth in the central parts of Arizona, but that should not come at the expense of the future economic growth and liberty of other parts of the state. Rural Arizonans have their own water supplies reserved for them and they deserve the same prosperous future that Central Arizona enjoys today. The CAP Board can find additional water from companies that have wisely stored water underground in Long Term Storage Credits, and from Arizona’s tribes and nations that have water available for long-term lease.
Thankfully, Governor Doug Ducey; Representative Rusty Bowers, Chairman of the Arizona House Representatives Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Committee; and Senator Gail Griffin, Chairman of the Arizona Senate Natural Resources, Energy & Water Committee; are working with stakeholders to develop equitable solutions to meet Arizona’s future water needs, protect the levels of Lake Mead and begin to lay the next set of broad policies which will govern Arizona water management in the years to come.
We should all remember how blessed we are by the work of our forefathers to be able to live the abundant lives we have today – by working together to compromise, to create policies which protect our State’s economic interests and to ensure we ALL speak with a unified voice FOR ARIZONA!
It’s a difficult road ahead, but Arizona must not fail. Governor Ducey, Representative Bowers and Senator Griffin have big shoes to fill, and we are confident they are up to the task.