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Arizona Gov. Hobbs talks water management in State of State, launches groundwater council

Phoenix Business Journal

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs addressed water management during her State of the State speech Monday afternoon, and she signed an executive order to set up a council focused on groundwater management.

Hobbs spoke of the Colorado River water cuts that went into effect at the start of the calendar year, as the key water source for much of the Western U.S. has been impacted by drought and overuse.

Arizona will see an 80,000 acre-feet of water cut — 21% of its total share — from the river critical for drinking water, hydroelectric power and irrigation for farmers. An average household uses one-half to one acre-foot of water a year.

“We must also all understand this: barring a miracle from nature, it will likely get worse before it gets better,” Hobbs said in her speech. “This should be a wake-up call for all of us, because it will take all of us to solve it.”

Hobbs released a report from the Arizona Department of Water Resources on the 100-year outlook of groundwater in the Hassayampa sub-basin in the West Valley. The area is projected to fall 15% below Assured Water Supply limits, short of pumping demands.

To address the threats facing one of the fastest growing states by population in the country, Hobbs signed her fourth executive order to create the Governor’s Water Policy Council.

The action states the council will analyze and recommend updates, revisions and additions to the 1980 Arizona Groundwater Management Act and other water legislation.

The Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources — currently Tom Buschatzke — will chair the council and create committees. Membership will include directors of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Forestry and Fire Management, State Land Department and Commerce Authority.

The sitting governor can also choose representatives from entities including the state Legislature, Salt River Project, Navajo Nation, Tribal communities within current Active Management Areas (AMAs) and private water companies.

“Facing our current reality, it’s time to update groundwater management tools and protect groundwater supplies – particularly in rural communities,” Hobbs said.

Read more of this story from the KTAR.


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