Arizona legislative proposal affecting two rivers causes a stir

The San Pedro north of Benson, the Southwest’s last free-flowing desert stream of consequence./Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star 2015

By Tony Davis | Arizona Daily Star

The Colorado and the San Pedro rivers’ futures are on the line at the Legislature due to a controversial water bill.

The bill, whose architect is Sen. Gail Griffin of Sierra Vista, would loosen requirements for an adequate water supply for new homes in rural counties.

Approval would most likely clear the way for a 7,000-home development in that city near the fragile San Pedro, the Southwest’s last free-flowing desert stream of any consequence. The development has been tied up in court by a federal lawsuit saying the state improperly found that the project has adequate water.

Under the law Griffin would change, builders can’t construct new subdivisions in counties such as Cochise County unless the state finds there is adequate water for growth.

Gov. Doug Ducey vetoed similar legislation two years ago, saying he didn’t want to weaken Arizona’s pioneering Groundwater Management Act of 1980 to which these rules were added in 2007.




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February 2018