Legislature Focused On Future Of Water

Legislature Focused On Future Of Water

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona Republican Legislators are laser focused on the issues that matter most to their state.

Earlier this week, the Joint Legislative Committee on Water Security met for its first meeting since being formed in April by Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma. The purpose of this committee was “to convene and solicit information from water users, stakeholders, and the public regarding state solutions to address water security in Arizona.”

According to a press release sent by the House Majority Communications on Wednesday, members of the committee met “to outline (the committee’s) goals for the ensuing months and to hear preliminary testimony on the most pressing issues facing Arizona’s water supply.”

For this first meeting, the press release announced that the “committee heard presentations from the Salt River Project and the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) to get a better understanding of the current water outlook for the state, as well as the level of investments that Arizona has made and will be making in new water infrastructure over the next several years.”

WIFA’s Assistant Director, Chelsea McGuire, presented detailed information to the Committee “on the funds and options available to residents and communities to help improve water supplies and strengthen the water resources that Arizona communities and economies depend on.” The Water Conservation Grant Fund will provide up to $200 million to Arizona cities, towns, counties, irrigation districts, natural resource conservation district, and domestic improvement districts. There will also be up to $190 million in additional funds to “rural cities, towns, and counties located outside of the Phoenix, Pinal, and Tucson active management areas to develop projects that promote the replenishment, recovery, reclamation, and recharge of stormwater and groundwater in rural parts of the state.”

Both of the Committee’s Co-Chairs, Senator Sine Kerr and Representative Gail Griffin, issued statements after the meeting’s conclusion. Senator Kerr said, “Upon the Governor’s signature of a bill I’m working on this session, even more entities will be able to take advantage of the WIFA conservation dollars. We need an all-of-the-above solution for this critical issue that impacts all Arizonans. These investments in conservation programs and new water supply development projects will be pivotal as we continue to meet as a committee to address our state’s most pressing water challenges.”

Representative Griffin added, “We’re doing great things to help the State of Arizona and rural communities with water solutions. WIFA is making historic investments that will help us to save water and put more water back into the ground, especially in rural parts of the state. Local communities that want to take more control over their future water supplies should encourage eligible entities to take advantage of these tools.”

The Committee revealed its “next steps,” which include “scheduling future meetings to hear from experts on issues such as groundwater modeling, management best practices for urban and rural areas across the state and finding additional sources of water for Arizona communities.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.