ARC technical work group meeting to be livestreamed

The initial meeting of the Arizona Reconsultation Committee’s “Modeling and Analysis Work Group” is scheduled for Thursday, July 30, starting at 10 a.m.

The livestream can be accessed here just before the meeting begins.

The Modeling and Analysis Work Group will provide a fact basis to inform ARC discussions. It will examine risks, vulnerabilities and impacts to Arizona’s overall Colorado River supply, on-river priorities and users, and Central Arizona Project priorities and users. The Work Group will consider a broad range of future river conditions.

The Work Group meeting will livestreamed, but not recorded. Non-delegate observers will be afforded an opportunity to provide input.

Press Release: A Statement on the 40th Anniversary of Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980

Color Logo Transparent- For Web

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     CONTACT: Doug MacEachern or Shauna Evans
June 10, 2020                                                 PHONE:  602.771. 8507 or 602.771.8079

 

A Statement on the 40th Anniversary of  Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980

June 10, 2020 – Friday, June 12, marks the 40th anniversary of the Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980, the law that changed the trajectory of water use in Arizona.

The 1980 Act was – and remains — the most sweeping state law in the Nation governing groundwater use. In addition to creating a coherent, manageable system for helping wean Arizona’s most populous regions from groundwater use, it enacted the framework for long-term groundwater-use reduction that continues to the present.

“In Arizona, we stand on the shoulders of giants — pragmatic, visionary leaders whose achievements have shown us the way and enabled our high quality of life,” said Governor Doug Ducey.

“Last year, we followed their example by coming together—Republicans and Democrats—to pass Arizona’s Drought Contingency Plan. We will continue to be guided by a spirit of collaboration and cooperation as we build on the work of those who came before us and secure Arizona’s water future for generations to come.”

As part of the 1980 Act, the Arizona Department of Water Resources was created to enforce the Act in the regions of the State that would become known as “Active Management Areas.” The Department also was charged with taking responsibility for managing Arizona’s allocation of Colorado River water.

In 1980, Arizona water use was on a path to exceed 10 million acre-feet per year statewide, the majority of it pumped from the ground. Water users and political leaders recognized then that continuing to pump groundwater at such levels in a fast-growing Sun Belt state like Arizona was not sustainable.

“The whole structure was ready to collapse,” recalled former Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt in 2016.

The Act addressed this problem in central Arizona by prohibiting the expansion of farmland, requiring an assured 100-year water supply for new residential development, limiting the drilling of new wells, and imposing mandatory conservation requirements. With these measures in place, groundwater depletion in central Arizona slowed dramatically.

“In passing the Groundwater Management Act, the State recognized that overuse of groundwater—a finite supply—threatened the economy and welfare of Arizona and its citizens,” observes former ADWR Director Kathleen Ferris, who served as director of legislative staff working on the project in 1979-1980.

“While more must be done to protect the state’s groundwater, I hate to think of where we’d be now without the Act.”

Ferris and her husband, filmmaker Michael Schiffer, produced a documentary on the creation of the Act – “Groundwater: To enact a law for the common good.”

A central goal of the Act is to conserve the State’s most vital resource, water. It has succeeded at the goal remarkably well.

Since 1957, Arizona’s population has grown nearly 500 percent, to 6.7 million residents as of 2018. Its economy has exploded from a gross domestic income of $13.4 billion in 1957 to about $270 billion in 2017. Yet, despite such dramatic growth, Arizona’s total water use actually declined to 1957 levels following the passage of the Act.

Today, Arizona uses roughly 7 million acre-feet of water per year – nearly the same amount that Arizona water users consumed more than 60 years ago.

Water_Success

Highlights of the Act:

  • The five “active management areas” covered by the Groundwater Management Act include less than a quarter of the state’s land mass, but over 75 percent of its population
  • Developers building in active-management areas must demonstrate an assured water supply lasting at least 100 years for new growth
  • The statutory deadline for reaching “safe yield” – that is, groundwater withdrawal that does not exceed annual replenishment of underground aquifers – is fast approaching: 2025
  • Outside of active-management areas and “non-irrigation areas,” groundwater use in Arizona remains essentially unregulated

__

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Doug MacEachern, Communications Administrator at dmaceachern@azwater.gov or Shauna Evans, Public Information Officer at smevans@azwater.gov.

###

Press Release: Arizona Department of Water Resources and Audubon Agree to Funding Plan to Conserve Colorado River Water

Color Logo Transparent- For Web

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                          MAY 29, 2020                                                          
contact

 

Arizona Department of Water Resources and Audubon Agree to Funding Plan to Conserve Colorado River Water

Fulfilling Drought Contingency Plan commitments and achieving water security for Arizona.

PHOENIX—As part of an overall $38 million effort to bolster Lake Mead surface levels by fallowing irrigable farmland on the Colorado River Indian Reservation in western Arizona, the National Audubon Society has reached an agreement with the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) to help fund the Colorado River Indian Tribes’ (CRIT) on-going efforts to conserve 150,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead over the next three years.

“Leaving water in Lake Mead for the greater Colorado River system creates more security for people and birds in the arid Southwest,” said Karyn Stockdale, Audubon’s Western Water Initiative Senior Director.

“This is a great first step toward completing an important piece of the funding plan approved by the Steering Committee members and the Arizona Legislature,” said ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke. “I commend the National Audubon Society for recognizing the importance of keeping Lake Mead surface levels as stable and healthy as possible.”

The three-year deal is expected to reduce water demand and add approximately two vertical feet to Lake Mead’s surface levels.

According to the agreement signed on May 21, Audubon—supported by their corporate partner Intel Corporation—will contribute to an Arizona Fund created in 2019 to incentivize the CRIT for creating up to 150,000 acre-feet of system conservation water in Lake Mead, helping to avoid precipitous declines in the Lake.

“I want to thank our partners at Audubon, Intel, and the Arizona Department of Water Resources for their ongoing support of this conservation project,” said Colorado River Indian Tribes Chairman Dennis Patch. “The partnership among the State, nonprofit organizations, corporations and our tribal government demonstrates that working together we can tackle the most enduring water supply challenges. The Colorado River Indian Tribes look forward to continuing to work with our partners ensuring the State of Arizona has a sustainable water future.”

The CRIT offered to forego irrigation water deliveries and fallow approximately 10,000 acres of farmland in exchange for the funding.

The fallowing/funding effort is a part of Arizona’s celebrated agreement among dozens of water users, agencies, tribes and conservation groups statewide in January 2019 to address instability in the Colorado River system through the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP). After nearly 20 years of drought in the Colorado River Basin, the DCP is designed to promote conservation, reduce demand, and stabilize water levels in Lake Mead through projects such as the CRIT’s system conservation project.

“Intel is proud to support this vital effort, and to restore water to the community we’ve innovated and invested in for 40 years,” said Liz Shipley, Intel Arizona Public Affairs Director. “Investing in our watershed is an investment in our future.”

Signed May 21, Audubon’s funding contribution agreement with ADWR comes almost exactly one year after the May 20, 2019 signing of the DCP on the Observation Deck of Hoover Dam by the seven Colorado River States and the federal Department of the Interior.

 

Background on System Conservation and DCP

The months-long, public efforts of Arizona’s Steering Committee, led by ADWR Director Buschatzke and Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD) General Manager Ted Cooke, opened the door to the State Legislature’s approval of legislation authorizing the ADWR Director to sign the DCP, as well as legislation necessary for the DCP to be implemented in Arizona.

On signing the legislation on January 31, 2019, Governor Doug Ducey hailed the DCP as “the most significant water legislation passed in nearly 40 years.”

The specific terms of the CRIT conservation effort were set out in an agreement by ADWR with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, operator of the Colorado River system, and the CAWCD, which delivers about 1.6 million acre-feet of Arizona’s 2.8 million acre-foot annual allocation to users mainly in central and south-central Arizona.

To fund the CRIT creation of system conservation water in Lake Mead, the State of Arizona appropriated $30 million in budget year 2019/2020. By a separate agreement, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) agreed to deposit $2 million into the Fund by January 31, 2020 and use its best efforts to raise an additional $6 million into the Fund no later than July 15, 2021.

The Audubon contribution is a part of the EDF agreement.  Intel’s leadership support of Audubon made this vital project possible, and also opens up opportunities to leverage additional philanthropic support later this year.

This project demonstrates how the landmark DCP agreement is achieving the goal of creating positive partnerships among entities, fulfilling funding commitments and achieving water security for Arizona.

__

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Shauna Evans, Arizona Department of Water Resources’s Public Information Officer at smevans@azwater.gov or Joey Kahn, National Audubon Society’s Western Water Communications Manager at Joey.kahn@audubon.org.

###

Press Release: Statement on the Bureau of Reclamation’s April 24-Month Study

Color Logo Transparent- For Web

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     CONTACT: Doug MacEachern or Shauna Evans
April 16, 2020                                          PHONE:  602.771. 8507 or 602.771.8079

Statement on the Bureau of Reclamation’s April 24-Month Study

PHOENIX – The United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) has released its April 24 Month Study, which projects Colorado River operations for the next two years. The study projects the operating conditions of the Colorado River system, as well as runoff and reservoir conditions. The Upper Basin experienced around average snowpack (107%) this year, and the April-July inflow into Lake Powell is expected to be 78% of average. The below-average projection is due to extremely dry conditions in the basin during October and November of 2019. Consistent with the 2007 Interim Guidelines, Lake Powell will operate under an annual release of 8.23 million acre feet in water year 2020.

The April 24 Month Study projects Lake Mead’s January 1, 2021 elevation to be 1084.69 feet, putting Lake Mead in a Tier Zero condition for 2021. The Study also projects a Tier Zero condition for Lake Mead in 2022 with the projected January 1, 2022 elevation of 1084.39 feet. Tier Zero conditions require a 192,000 acre-foot reduction in Arizona’s 2.8 million acre-foot allocation. The Lower Colorado River Basin is in Tier Zero for 2020. The April 24 month study projects that the Lower Colorado River Basin will remain in the Tier Zero condition in 2021.

These reductions will fall entirely on Central Arizona Project (CAP) supplies, impacting CAP supplies for water banking, replenishment and agricultural users. The Tier Zero reductions will not impact tribal or municipal CAP water users.

While the Tier Zero reductions are significant, they are part of broader efforts being implemented to reduce the near-term risks of deeper reductions to Arizona’s Colorado River supplies. In addition to the Tier Zero reductions to CAP supplies, other programs to conserve and store water are being implemented in Arizona. These include programs with the Colorado River Indian Tribes, Gila River Indian Community, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Metro Water District, Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), Central Arizona Water Conservation District (CAWCD), as well as Reclamation.

The April 24 Month Study shows that in the near term, the programs being implemented in Arizona and across the Colorado River system, along with favorable hydrology, have helped avoid a near-term crisis in the Colorado River system. However, we continue to face significant near-term and long-term risks to Arizona’s Colorado River supplies. We have much more work to do to address our shared risks. ADWR and CAWCD intend to jointly convene Arizona water stakeholders to address these risks and to prepare for new negotiations regarding the long-term operating rules on the Colorado River later this year.

See also:

Bureau of Reclamation April 24-Month Study

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Doug MacEachern, Communications Administrator at dmaceachern@azwater.gov or Shauna Evans, Public Information Officer at smevans@azwater.gov.

###

Press Release: Appreciation Week Recognizes Essential Services of Arizona Water Professionals

Color Logo Transparent- For Web

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     CONTACT: Doug MacEachern or Shauna Evans
April 9, 2020                                                 PHONE:  602.771. 8507 or 602.771.8079

Appreciation Week Recognizes Essential Services of Arizona Water Professionals

PHOENIX – Like so much else, the COVID-19 virus has caused the cancellation of scheduled Arizona Water Professionals Appreciation Week events this year.

That doesn’t mean we still can’t celebrate the essential services that the State’s water professionals provide.

Arizona lawmakers already have done so.

House Resolution 2003, passed by the Legislature in March, decreed April 12-18 as the week that Arizonans will honor the hard work of professionals in the water industry.

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon (D-Sahuarita), was read on the floor of the House of Representatives on March 18.

In part, the resolution invited lawmakers to “extend sincere gratitude and appreciation to the water professionals who are on the front line of delivering Arizona’s safe and reliable water…”

The reading of the resolution can be found here: https://bit.ly/3c3LXTE.

Now in its second year in Arizona, this recognition program was started by professionals who work in Arizona’s water industry. It is intended to spotlight their role in promoting clean and sustainable water supplies while drawing attention to career opportunities in the water industry and increasing awareness of Arizona’s unique water resources.

pin design

Thousands of professionals work in water-related fields in Arizona, and new employees are needed each year due to growth in the industry and to replace an aging workforce. The water industry offers a wide variety of rewarding career opportunities in engineering, hydrology, water operations, biology, policy, economics, business administration, law, and communications.

See also:

https://bit.ly/2JUfAux

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Juliet McKenna, organizer of Arizona Water Professionals Appreciation Week at jmckenna@elmontgomery.com.

###

Press Release: A Statement from Arizona’s Water Community on the Security and Resiliency of the State’s Water Supplies

Color Logo Transparent- For Web

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     CONTACT: Doug MacEachern or Shauna Evans
March 27, 2020                                             PHONE:  602.771. 8507 or 602.771.8079

A Statement from Arizona’s Water Community on the Security and Resiliency of the State’s Water Supplies

PHOENIX – Water is critical to public health, our quality of life, the desert environment and our economy. That is why we are all doing our part to ensure you always have water at your tap, even during times of concern.

We have planned and invested in robust and resilient water supplies, infrastructure and processes so that your local water provider can deliver you water every day of every year. Through our collaborative efforts, we can bring water from Arizona’s mountains and the Colorado River, and manage our groundwater.

We are each taking extra precautions by implementing resiliency plans that have been developed for times like these to better ensure essential operations continue without interruption and we can fully support local water providers – all of which could not be achieved without the dedicated efforts of all of our employees.

Together we remain committed to safeguarding our water supplies so they remain secure not just for today, but for the future.

logos_together

See also:

https://bit.ly/2vToKnH

Arizona Department of Water Resources’s “Continuing ADWR Operations While Slowing the Spread” webpage| View ADWR’s Page >

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s “Continuing ADEQ Operations While Slowing the Spread” webpage| View ADEQ’s Page >

Central Arizona Project’s “COVID-19 Updates” webpage | View CAP’s Page >

Salt River Project’s “Watershed Connection” website | View SRP’s Website >

Arizona Municipal Water Users Association “Cities Dedicated to Continued Delivery of Safe and Secure Water” webpage | View AMWUA’s Page >

Governor Ducey’s “Arizona Together” website | View Arizona Together Website >

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Doug MacEachern, Communications Administrator at dmaceachern@azwater.gov or Shauna Evans, Public Information Officer at smevans@azwater.gov.

###

Press Release: ADWR creates new, informational “Continuing Operations” web page

Color Logo Transparent- For Web

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     CONTACT: Doug MacEachern or Shauna Evans
March 20, 2020                                             PHONE:  602.771. 8507 or 602.771.8507

ADWR creates new, informational “Continuing Operations” web page

PHOENIX – Like virtually all other government agencies, the Arizona Department of Water Resources has adjusted to the threats posed by the COVID-19 virus while, at the same time, conducting as many public services and core mission functions as
possible.

ADWR is prepared for eventualities such as this one. The Department is well-
positioned to conduct services remotely, with staff working outside the office in
many cases. In the meanwhile, ADWR’s vital mission work of protecting Arizona’s water supplies – while also minimizing exposure risk to staff and customers – remains our top priority.

As part of the Department’s continuing-operations effort, ADWR has created a
new web page – accessible at new.azwater.gov/covid-19 – that will provide updates regarding Department operations in the weeks to come.

The webpage will include up-to-date changes in ADWR operations, as well as links to informational COVID-19 websites, such as the Environmental Protection
Agency’s statement regarding the safety of drinking water.

See also:

https://bit.ly/3bcspMi

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Doug MacEachern, Communications Administrator at dmaceachern@azwater.gov or Shauna Evans, Public Information Officer at smevans@azwater.gov.

###

Press Release: Arizona Department of Water Resources conducting “basin sweep” to collect water level measurements in the Tucson and Santa Cruz Active Management Areas & Cienega Creek and San Rafael Basins

Color Logo Transparent- For Web

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   CONTACT: Shauna Evans

Jan. 30, 2020                                                                                          PHONE: 602.771.8079

 

Arizona Department of Water Resources conducting “basin sweep” to collect water level measurements in the Tucson and Santa Cruz Active Management Areas & Cienega Creek and San Rafael Basins

PHOENIX – Beginning the week of February 10, and continuing for several months, Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) field services staff will be making an extensive effort to measure water levels in wells in the Tucson and Santa Cruz Active Management Areas (AMAs) & Cienega Creek and San Rafael Basins.

ADWR staff will attempt to measure water levels at hundreds of wells in these AMAs and basins.  This survey of wells – or basin “sweep,” as it is known — will be the first such basin survey of the area since 2016. The data collected will be used for several purposes, including:

  • Analysis of water-level trends
  • Groundwater modeling
  • Water-level change maps
  • Hydrologic reports
  • Water resource planning and management

The general area covered by this basin sweep is the southern portion of the state and extends from the U.S. – Mexico border to north of Tucson.

Tucson_SantaCruz _AMAs_&_Cienega_Creek_ SanRafael_Basins

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Public Information Officer Shauna Evans at smevans@azwater.gov or (602) 771-8079.

###

ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke Comments on Secretary Bernhardt Initiating an Early Review of Current Colorado River Operational Rules in Recent U.S. Department of Interior Press Release

secretary-bernhardt-at-lectern-with-reclamation-logo-usbr-photo
(Photo Credit: U.S. Department of the Interior)

“Collaborative efforts with the United States, the Basin States and their water users and Mexico have been key to the success of managing water supplies, creating resiliency against drought and a more sustainable Colorado River…” –  Tom Buschatzke, Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

Read More

Press Release: Arizona Department of Water Resources conducts “basin sweep” to collect water-level measurements in the Lower Gila and Gila Bend Basins

Color Logo Transparent- For Web

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   CONTACT: Shauna Evans

Dec. 4, 2019                                                                                          PHONE: 602.771.8079

 

Arizona Department of Water Resources conducts “basin sweep” to collect water-level measurements in the Lower Gila and Gila Bend Basins

PHOENIX- Beginning the week of December 9, 2019 and continuing for several months, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) will be making an extensive effort to measure water levels in wells in the Lower Gila and Gila Bend Basins.  This sweep will cover a large portion of the state southwest of the Phoenix metropolitan area, generally south of I-10 and west of I-85, excluding the Yuma area and along the U.S. – Mexico border.

ADWR staff will attempt to measure water levels at hundreds of wells in the Lower Gila and Gila Bend Basins.  This survey of area wells – or basin “sweep,” as it is known — will be the first such basin survey of the area since 2008 in Gila Bend Basin and since 1992 in Lower Gila Basin. The data collected will be used for several purposes, including:

  • Analysis of water-level trends
  • Groundwater modeling
  • Water-level change maps
  • Hydrologic reports
  • Water resource planning and management

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Public Information Officer Shauna Evans at smevans@azwater.gov or (602) 771-8079.

###