Groundwater protection issues in Arizona generated robust debate among lawmakers and constituents, and documentary filmmakers captured it, yielding an upcoming release titled “Groundwater: To enact a law for the common good.”
Produced by former Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) director Kathleen Ferris along with filmmaker and screenwriter Michael Schiffer, the 26-minute work traces a decades-long struggle to adopt ecological protections for Arizona waters that were essentially ahead of their time.
The film’s mid-May preview showing at the Prescott Elks Theater proved less dramatic than its actual history, which was described as “intense” in a news release, leading to the Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980.
The preview showing drew approximately 300 Prescott-area viewers and was followed by a question-and-answer session featuring Ferris and a panel of water experts, the release said.
Audience members relayed queries about population growth and whether its water supply will remain sustainable, according to the release, with panelists addressing their concerns in the interactive session.
In response to one resident’s doubts, Tom Buschatzke, ADWR director and panel member, said that he saw no conflict of interest between population growth and water consumption, saying that even with 5 million more inhabitants than in the mid-20th century, the state of Arizona actually consumes no more water than it did in the mid-1950s.