Governor Babbitt, Senator Kyl Echo Calls To Pass Drought Contingency Plan
PHOENIX — With only 16 days to get a deal done before the federal government’s deadline, Governor Doug Ducey today joined legislative leaders from both parties to announce a commitment to working together to pass the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP).
Senate President Karen Fann, House Speaker Rusty Bowers, House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez and Senate Minority Leader David Bradley along with Governor Bruce Babbitt, Senator Jon Kyl, Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) Director Tom Buschatzke and Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) Executive Director Ted Cooke expressed a united front and showed bipartisan, generational support for getting a deal done before January 31.
“Today, Arizona is committing to securing our water future - by passing the Drought Contingency Plan this month,” said Governor Ducey. “If ever there was a time that we needed everyone to come together and act boldly and swiftly, it’s now. Inaction will bring real and painful consequences and the clock is ticking. I’m grateful to Speaker Bowers, President Fann, Leaders Bradley and Fernandez, along with Governor Babbitt and Senator Kyl for joining me to pledge to get this done. There’s no time to lose.”
Arizona, along with six other states known as the Colorado Basin states, receives a supply of water from the Colorado River, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. If Lake Mead, the river’s largest reservoir, reaches certain critically low levels, Arizona could lose access to up to 17 percent of its water allocation — equivalent to a year’s worth of water for one million households.
In response to an extended period of drought and declining water levels in Lake Mead, the Colorado Basin States were tasked with developing DCPs meant to protect the lake from reaching critically low levels, which could trigger potentially catastrophic reductions in Arizona’s Colorado River water supply.
Arizona’s 19-year drought places the issue of securing our state’s water future at the forefront of Governor Ducey’s legislative priorities. With a federally imposed deadline of January 31, 2019, the Arizona legislature must act with urgency in ratifying the Drought Contingency Plan.
The fiscal year 2018 budget committed $6 million over three years to preserve elevations at Lake Mead by incentivizing Arizona’s Colorado River water users to forego a portion of their water supply. Governor Ducey’s fiscal year 2020 Executive Budget includes an additional $30 million for conservation efforts dedicated to protecting water levels in Lake Mead and $5 million to support infrastructure projects for agriculture.
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