Arizona Running Low On Time For Drought Contingency Plan, Lawmakers Want More Conservation

By Kathy Ritchie, Bret Jaspers
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Friday, January 18, 2019 - 7:43am
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2019 - 8:20am

Arizona House Democrats are hesitant to ratify a proposed drought contingency plan. Some members are worried there’s nothing in the proposal to require more water conservation.

The plan is currently focused on finding ways to move water around, mostly to meet the needs of Pinal County farmers. But Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez is worried the deal fails to address the underlying problem: Arizona and other states are using more water than is available. The state has until Jan. 31 to act or the Bureau of Reclamation will come up with its own plan to divide up the water from the Colorado River. 

"I still think it's do-able. Conservation is something that's important. If we're going to put money into this and we're talking about millions, and it could be even more. Because we could be on the hook for more, we need to get exactly what we want,” Fernandez said.

Senate President Republican Karen Fann said that while she agrees with Fernandez, she said the state is “up against the wall,” and there isn’t time right now to talk conservation.

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