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Governor Hobbs Unveils 100-Year Study To Protect Valley Groundwater Supplies and Announces $40 million Investment in Arizona Water Resiliency Fund

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This was originally posted on June 1, 2023.

Phoenix - Today Governor Katie Hobbs unveiled the Phoenix Active Management Area (AMA) Groundwater Model and the Arizona Department of Water Resources' latest study of groundwater conditions across the Phoenix metropolitan area. The groundwater model evaluates water level changes after 100 years of existing and projected pumping, and gives water managers critical information to secure Arizona's water resources for generations to come.

The results of the groundwater model projection show that over a period of 100 years, approximately 4% of the demand for groundwater (4.86 million acre-feet) in the region will not be met without further action. Arizona's Assured Water Supply Program is the most rigorous water management standard in the nation, providing water security for existing communities and continued growth. These results demonstrate this rigor and provide the notice we need in order to address projected groundwater water shortages well before they occur.

Along with the model, Governor Hobbs announced a $40 million investment of American Rescue Plan Act funds to spur increased water conservation, fund critical water infrastructure, and promote sustainable groundwater management throughout the State. The Arizona Water Resiliency Fund will be administered by the Arizona Department of Water Resources to facilitate sustainable groundwater management through grants and financial support for pressing water resiliency efforts.

"Families and businesses from around the world come to Arizona in part because they know we are serious about water management, and that we are the leader in safeguarding groundwater supplies," said Governor Hobbs. "What the model ultimately shows is that our water future is secure: the Assured Water Supply Program is working. Water supplies for homeowners and businesses are protected. Growth has been planned for, and will continue. My message to Arizonans is this: we are not out of water and we will not be running out of water because, as we have done so many times before, we will tackle the water challenges we face with integrity and transparency. I will not bury my head in the sand, cut corners, or put short-term interests over the State's long-term economic growth. This proven approach is how we built a thriving Arizona, and I know it's how we will continue to prosper long into the future."

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"The steps taken by Governor Hobbs and the Arizona Department of Water Resources further exemplify why Arizona leads the nation when it comes to water management," said Chris Camacho, President & CEO at Greater Phoenix Economic Council. "By proactively addressing opportunities for enhancing groundwater availability, we are demonstrating our dedication to long-term sustainability and securing Arizona's water future. This strategic approach to smart growth not only ensures the water needs of our communities but also reinforces our position as a reliable destination for businesses and individuals alike. Arizona's commitment to responsible water management is a testament to our resilience and our ability to navigate future challenges with confidence."

"These projections provide a critical roadmap for all water providers in the Phoenix AMA, which is vital to our collective resiliency as desert communities. We appreciate the Governor's leadership in releasing this long-awaited groundwater tool," stated Warren Tenney, Executive Director of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association. "The ten AMWUA cities, which serve over half of Arizona's population, will continue to develop and thrive because they are not solely dependent on groundwater and have demonstrated they can meet the water demands of their communities, including projected growth over the next 100 years."

"Arizona has a long history of taking bold action to preserve and manage its water resources. As we prepare for a drier future, our industry will continue to be part of the solution, focusing on responsible development strategies like conservation, recycled water, and sustainable infrastructure," stated Cheryl Lombard, President & CEO of Valley Partnership. "We appreciate Governor Hobbs and our federal, state, and local leaders' commitment to seek ways to increase our water supplies in the decades to come, but we can't delay. Expediting long-term augmentation, water storage, and connectivity through existing infrastructure should start now. We are ready and willing partners in implementing the solutions that will continue to provide water certainty across the Phoenix metro area and the state."

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"The model results show that Arizona's Assured Water Supply laws are working as intended to ensure water supplies are available in advance of growth, while providing water managers with an opportunity to look ahead and tackle water challenges" said Sarah Porter, Executive Director of the ASU Kyl Center for Water Policy. "I support this proactive and transparent approach to water management and look forward to discussing policy solutions for these pressing issues as a member of the Governor's Water Policy Council."

Today's announcements follow on the heels of the newly established Governor's Water Policy Council, which will be developing policy recommendations for modernizing Arizona's Groundwater Management Act, as well as Governor Hobbs' announcement of an historic plan with California and Nevada to stabilize the Colorado River.

More information on the Phoenix AMA Groundwater Model and 100-year Assured Water Supply Projection can be found here.

Filed Under: Government, State

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