One year ago today, Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation ratifying the Arizona Drought Contingency Plan (DCP). The historic plan is one of the most significant pieces of water legislation enacted in Arizona since the Groundwater Management Act of 1980. That same day, the Governor issued an Executive Order creating the Water Augmentation, Innovation, and Conservation Council to recommend opportunities for expanding and protecting Arizona’s water supplies long-term.
Since then, the Council of water leaders, community members, legislators and more have met once every quarter. It has also created four committees to develop, evaluate and prioritize recommendations. The committees are:
Non-Active Management Area Groundwater Committee
Long-Term Water Augmentation Committee
Post-2025 Active Management Areas Committee
The Non-Active Management Area Groundwater Committee is working to achieve a better understanding of the groundwater challenges outside the regulated areas, to develop options to address those issues and to make recommendations to the Council. The Committee plans to focus on the availability of groundwater data statewide at its upcoming meeting.
The Long-Term Water Augmentation Committee released a report in August 2019, outlining potential water augmentation strategies for communities throughout Arizona. It includes options tailored to each planning area that local communities can use to address augmentation challenges and opportunities. The Committee plans to further research and discuss a number of augmentation options in upcoming meetings.
The Desalination Committee works to evaluate and overcome barriers to desalination projects and identify opportunities to assist in developing potential projects.
The Post-2025 Active Management Areas Committee works to identify challenges within the regulated areas and generate strategies and solutions beyond 2025. It is on track to present the Council with a consensus-based list of issues for consideration and discussion by the end of the year.
The Council provides a forum to discuss difficult issues among legislators and diverse stakeholders from across the state in an ongoing effort to ensure a sustainable water future for Arizona. The Governor included the Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, House Minority Leader and Senate Minority Leader when establishing the Council to help ensure the state’s water future remains a priority. The Council is chaired by the Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke. Ted Cooke, Central Arizona Project General Manager, also serves on the Council.
Director Buschatzke and Cooke will present a status report on the DCP in May. The Council will submit a full report of its activities and recommendations to the Governor by July 1, 2020.