Arizona lawmakers bank a billion dollars to augment and save water

Arizona lawmakers bank a billion dollars to augment and save water


The Colorado River’s precipitous decline pushed Arizona lawmakers to deliver Gov. Doug Ducey’s $1 billion water augmentation fund — and then some — late Friday, their final night in session.

Before the votes, the growing urgency for addressing the state’s oncoming water shortage and the long timeline for approving and building new water projects nearly without the legislation.

Just over a week after the federal government warned that the seven states that use the Colorado must make major new cutbacks by next year, Democrats held out until they got an additional $200 million commitment for water conservation, which they argued could help Arizonans much faster than the costlier seawater desalination plan that the governor has touted.

Some of the water importation schemes that had been discussed would require multiple billions of dollars and interstate or international partnerships, making this three-year investment effectively a fund for down payments for big-ticket pipes or treatment plants. The water conservation measures, such as grants to help cities reduce turf grass, could be cheaper.





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