Arizona will be investing over $360 million in state water security and new projects, according to a Thursday statement from the Arizona House Majority Caucus.
State Representative Gail Griffin (R-Hereford), chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Energy, & Water, shared that these investments come from the state general fund through the new state budget. Some of the funded projects include $20 million to reconstruct the Winslow levee, $25 million for groundwater delivery infrastructure, $15 million in on-farm irrigation efficiency grants, nearly $40 million for well projects in Peoria and Gilbert, and $810,000 for irrigation systems projects in Glendale. Additionally, funding will also go to studying water supply demands, rural water needs, and brackish groundwater.
Griffin (pictured above) also mentioned the Arizona Legislature would continue to support the state’s 42 Natural Resource Conservation Districts, which are responsible for developing water conservation projects and entering into water agreements with landowners.
“Never before in our state’s history has water been as important to our state’s economic prosperity and individual liberty as it is today,” said Griffin. “As Republicans, we will continue to find solutions to Arizona’s most pressing issues, from water security to housing availability. We will continue to make investments in Arizona’s long-term water future.”
The Arizona Water Infrastructure Finance Authority, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), and the Arizona Commerce Authority are among the state agencies responsible for administering these funds.
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Arizona Invests Over $360 Million in Water Security
“Never before in our state’s history has water been as important to our state’s economic prosperity and individual liberty as it is today. As Republicans, we will continue to find solutions to… pic.twitter.com/7IVT7Uv5V4
— Arizona House Republicans (@AZHouseGOP) June 1, 2023
The Arizona Sun Times reached out to the House Majority Caucus for additional information but did not hear back before press time.
Outside of passing bills, the state legislature also has an ad hoc committee on water security. During the committee’s first meeting, the group of lawmakers heard testimony from water authorities in the state, like the Salt River Project, which testified that Arizona has plenty of water and above-ground reservoirs are at full capacity. As the committee continues to gather information, it will eventually deliver a report to the leaders of the state Legislature detailing any discoveries and policy recommendations.
Moreover, the legislature is not the only entity making efforts to secure Arizona water. On Thursday, Governor Katie Hobbs (D) held a press conference discussing a $40 million investment of American Rescue Plan Act funds to increase water conservation.
However, this planned conservation effort will not come without side effects. Hobbs said Arizona will now stop approving construction projects that require assured water from groundwater sources. The newest updates from the ADWR share that within the next 100 years, Arizona’s groundwater supplies could see a four percent shortfall of demands if conditions remain the same.
Nonetheless, Hobbs emphasized that Arizona has water and is not currently in serious danger of running out, but that actions need to be taken to ensure that the state stays that way. Additionally, she stated that there are still 80,000 unbuilt houses that can still move forward with construction. A construction project can also still be approved now, but it would need to provide assured water from an above-ground source.
This all comes after Hobbs developed a plan with Colorado River Basin States to conserve 3 million acre-feet over the next three years.
Furthermore, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) has also taken recent actions regarding the state’s water. On Tuesday, she announced her office is suing manufacturing companies 3M, DuPont, and others who have caused pollutants to enter the state’s groundwater supply.
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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gail Griffin” by Arizona House Republicans. Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Pima County Public Library.