Arizona governor introduces long-term water initiative

To ensure the certainty and vitality of Arizona’s water supply into the future, Gov. Doug Ducey announced a new two-track initiative through the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) on Monday.

Based on a 2014 report entitled Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability, the first goal is to examine 22 high-priority planning areas identified in the study: starting with rural areas, evaluating supply and demand issues, creating strategies to address imbalances, and collaborating with local stakeholders to implement solutions for future water needs.

As part of the second goal, Ducey said he plans to appoint a team to investigate long-term tactics, assess conservation options, recognize infrastructure requirements, and finally report results with policy or statutory guidelines to take the state forward.

“Thanks to more than a century of careful planning, sound decision-making and bold leadership from our predecessors, Arizona’s water supply, at least in the near-term, is in a better-than-expected position,” Ducey said. “Of course, vulnerabilities and uncertainties remain, and we must continue to be pragmatic and proactive – just like those before us – in how we manage our water resources.

ADWR Director Thomas Buschatzke is slated to lead the group. The team is expected to include experts in agriculture, mining, agribusiness, homebuilding, watershed groups and government.

“All Arizonans have a role and responsibility to play in the future of this great state, and a strong water supply will be central to that future,” Ducey said. “With the leadership of Director Buschatzke and his team of experts at Water Resources, we’ve come up with a long-term plan to help guide our efforts.”

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