Proposed Water Bills Threaten Arizona’s Water Future
February 5, 2018
Tucson – A series of water bills introduced in Arizona’s Senate last week would cause more harm than good and are not the solutions Arizonans need to ensure a future of reliable water supplies, economic growth and healthy rivers.
The bills (SB 1507 and HR 2512) do not provide certainty for water users and managers, do not protect groundwater supplies, and do not help minimize the risk of a shortage declaration from low Lake Mead water levels. None of the bills get to the heart of the problem: that we are taking more water out of the system than the Colorado River can provide.
Arizona must respond to this challenge with collaboratively developed plans to adjust to reduced Colorado River supplies. Unfortunately, the bills dodge a critical need for Arizona to reach agreement on a multi-state Drought Contingency Plan that would reduce risk to the state’s Colorado River supply.
“At a moment when Arizona is facing deep challenges managing its water supply for a secure future, it’s disheartening to see the Legislature and elected leaders pass up an opportunity to develop real solutions,” said Jeff Odefey, Director, Clean Water Supply with American Rivers.
“The state’s water providers and users are capable of reaching collaborative, far-reaching agreements. They need leadership to address the problems created by long-term drought and over-allocation, not short term actions that threaten critical habitats and groundwater resources. The Colorado River and all Arizonans deserve that kind of commitment, one that will allow Arizona to join other Lower Basin states in agreeing to a Drought Contingency Plan.”
“At stake is drinking water for people, irrigation water for farms, ranches, and wineries, water for businesses, and water for our abundant wildlife and natural heritage. So when it comes to planning our water future, it’s critical we get it right. These bills miss the mark,” Odefey said.
American Rivers supports the Water for Arizona Coalition, a joint effort of organizations who support policies and innovative practices to ensure a reliable water supply to meet the state’s needs. The Coalition represents over 60,000 Arizona members, as well as hundreds of hunters, anglers, and others who enjoy outdoor recreation across the state.
For more on water management solutions in Arizona, see:
ABOUT AMERICAN RIVERS
American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 275,000 members, supporters and volunteers.