So what were you up to 37 years ago today?
If you’re a Millennial, the answer is existential: nothing, really.
But if you happened to have been the governor of Arizona at the time, you would have been spending June 12, 1980 at a signing ceremony for legislation that ultimately would be hailed as the most far-sighted set of groundwater-management laws in the country: The Arizona Groundwater Management Act.
As historian Desmond D. Connall, Jr., noted, Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt signed the Act establishing “ambitious goals for water conservation and a complex regulatory scheme to achieve them.”
Enforcing that “complex regulatory scheme” would be us — the Arizona Department of Water Resources — which came into being with the same stroke of Gov. Babbitt’s pen, since one of the provisions of the Groundwater Management Act was that it should create a division of State government devoted to managing all that complexity. Babbitt appointed Wes Steiner, at the time the executive director of the Arizona Water Commission, as the department’s first director.
Whether they celebrated with cake or not is a matter lost to history.