Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) signed legislation Wednesday, which provides an unprecedented $1 billion investment to secure Arizona’s water future.
“This legislation is crucial for our continued growth and prosperity. It will ensure Arizona remains a land of opportunity for families and for businesses large and small,” Ducey said in a press release. “As we’ve done over the past seven and a half years, we came together, brought everyone to the table and delivered for the people of this great state. And by doing so, we are leaving Arizona better and stronger than we found it. I want to thank Senator Sine Kerr [R-Buckeye] and Representative Gail Griffin [R-AZ-14] for sponsoring this legislation and consistently leading on Arizona’s most pressing issues.”
Ducey also thanked other Arizona legislators for their contribution to Senate Bill (SB) 1740, including Arizona State Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott), State House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-AZ-25), and Minority Leaders Rebecca Rios (D-South Phoenix) and Reginald Bolding (D-AZ-27).
SB 1740 supplies the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) with a billion-dollar investment over the next three years for the purpose of providing loans and grants to water providers. Under the bill, Ducey claims that WIFA will have the ability to acquire, store, and sell imported water.
Moreover, according to Ducey, future Arizona water projects may include water conversion, wastewater infrastructure, desalination technologies, water augmentation, creating new water sources, supply development, and water storage.
Upon the bill’s signing, Kerr and other Arizona legislators gave statements praising the significant investment.
“Today we celebrate our action to address the water issues our great state faces,” Kerr said. “All Arizonans now and in the future will benefit from this legislation. Thanks to Governor Ducey’s leadership and bipartisan legislative support, we are setting in motion a strong pathway toward securing future water sources.”
Fann also commented on the bill, calling it another step forward in Arizona’s water conservation.
“We’ve been wise in our water conservation, efficiency and reuse projects, but now we need to go a step further,” Fann said. “Arizona’s economy is booming and in order to sustain that growth, we need to look ahead. This water package does just that.”
“This is an important starting point to ensure continual planning and financing of water augmentation, reuse, and conservation. Now, we must work together to maximize this historic investment in the wisest ways possible to benefit Arizona now and in the future,” Executive Director of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association Warren Tenney said in response to the signing.
Furthermore, Arizona Senate Republicans tweeted a response to SB 1740, saying, “AZ once again demonstrates it is the most proactive state, ready to address water concerns and serve as a model for the federal government.”
It's a historic day for Arizona! @DougDucey signed SB1740, sponsored by @SineKerr, to secure our water future with a $1 billion investment. AZ once again demonstrates it is the most proactive state, ready to address water concerns and serve as a model for the federal government. pic.twitter.com/EoMnjbsauG
— AZSenateRepublicans (@AZSenateGOP) July 6, 2022
According to the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), Arizona has been in a “tier 1” shortage condition since the start of 2022, which resulted in a cut to Arizona’s share of the Colorado River, with major reductions falling on central Arizona agricultural users. Reportedly, a two-decade drought has strained the Colorado River system. However, not all is bad; the ADWR says that water supplies from the Salt River Project appear to be in good shape, and the Arizona Water Bank has “millions of acre feet” of water stored underground.
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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].