The Politics of Water: A panel conversation with KJZZ News

By KJZZ News
Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2024 - 4:15pm
Updated: Wednesday, May 29, 2024 - 4:44pm

KJZZ News hosted "The Politics of Water," a panel discussion on Wednesday, as part of our ongoing coverage of water in Arizona. 

The conversation, moderated by The Show's Mark Brodie, explored the politics of water: the stakeholders involved, and the conflicts and cooperation that exist throughout all levels of government, as Arizona contends with historic drought and concerns about the state's water supply. This discussion is part of KJZZ's Every Last Drop series, tackling big questions about Arizona's water future.

Expert panelists included Stefanie Smallhouse, president of the Arizona Farm Bureau; Warren Tenney, executive director of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association; Bruce Hallin, assistant to the director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources; and Cora Tso, senior research fellow in Tribal Water Policy at the Kyl Center for Water Policy.

Tenney said it’s a difficult moment for the state, since Arizona is certain to have less Colorado River water in the future, but municipalities don’t yet know how much less.

"Without that certainty it really is a challenge for water providers know exactly what do they need to prepare for," Tenney said.

Tenney said decision making should be a slow process, since it’s critical not to make any policy changes that might weaken existing protections for groundwater or alternative supplies.

But Tso pointed out that tribal communities without running water already feel direct impacts of drought and need flexible, short-term solutions quickly.

"When I hear these decisions need to take more time, it’s hard to hear when people are at the forefront of experiencing climate change," Tso said.

This event was in partnership with

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Gabriel Pietrorazio/KJZZ
Cora Tso, senior research fellow in Tribal Water Policy at the Kyl Center for Water Policy, speaks at The Politics of Water panel on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

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Gabriel Pietrorazio/KJZZ
Stefanie Smallhouse, president of the Arizona Farm Bureau, speaks at The Politics of Water panel on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

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Gabriel Pietrorazio/KJZZ
Warren Tenney, executive director of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, speaks at The Politics of Water panel on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

Man in suit and glasses speaks
Gabriel Pietrorazio/KJZZ
Bruce Hallin, assistant to the director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, speaks at The Politics of Water panel on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

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Gabriel Pietrorazio/KJZZ
KJZZ's The Show host Mark Brodie speaks at The Politics of Water panel on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

Man in glasses speaks at podium
Gabriel Pietrorazio/KJZZ
KJZZ's The Show host Mark Brodie speaks at The Politics of Water panel on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.
Woman in glasses speaks
Gabriel Pietrorazio/KJZZ
Stefanie Smallhouse, president of the Arizona Farm Bureau, speaks at The Politics of Water panel on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.
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