Arizona remains among the nation's fastest growing states - and with population growth comes a deepening concern about our water supply.
Even though much of our landscape includes desert, Arizona is also an agricultural state. That industry generates $9.2 billion to the State's economy, so it is essential that we ensure ample water supplies to our rural and urban areas.
Depending on their location, all areas throughout Arizona have unique sets of problems. Some have ample water, yet do not have the infrastructure in place to adequately supply it, while others are limited in water supplies and need access to water sources outside their immediate vicinity. Often, nearby municipal water supplies are either too cost prohibitive for rural areas to obtain or the water is already fully appropriated.
As chairman of the Upper Verde River Watershed Protection Coalition, I have worked with numerous water groups and committees over the past 9 years. I understand the all-important and often contentious issues surrounding water supplies. This past session I sponsored HB2363, which introduces the concept of macro-harvested water. A Joint Legislative Study Committee on Macro-Harvested Water has been developed and consists of 29 members. Rather than continuing to burden taxpayers with legal battles over existing water rights, the committee will identify new water rights and evaluate issues arising from the collection and recovery of macro-harvested water.
Please read more on the bill here:
We must view Arizona water in consideration of both short-term needs and long-range planning, thereby helping ensure the wise use of available water today and in the future. This will require coordinated planning and a spirit of cooperation among Arizona's diverse communities. Together our communities must address infrastructure financing, development and acquisition of water, preservation and protection of existing water supplies, protections of exempt well owners' property rights, and education of all stakeholders about current best practices in water management.