Bills to manage AZ groundwater fails to get out of legislative committee

By Ron Dungan
Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2023 - 6:12pm

Climate change has forced policymakers to adapt to less Colorado River water.

The condition of Arizona's largest reservoirs has also called attention to the state’s falling groundwater supply.

Groundwater is unregulated in most of rural Arizona.

A pair of Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation to create groundwater stewardship areas, which would give local communities funding and expertise to help monitor their water supply.

But their bills have yet to receive a hearing, which means there’s a good chance they will die this session. Haley Paul of the Audubon Society says lawmakers need to address the state’s groundwater policy.

"This is an important issue for lots of folks throughout this state, and we can’t keep kicking the can down the road, so we’re hopeful that meaningful stakeholder conversations will continue to happen," Paul said.

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers and conservationists recently wrote a letter to Gov. Katie Hobbs in support of the bills.