Lawmakers get first look at legislation for Drought Contingency Plan

The Colorado River is a major source of water for Arizona. The management of its supply involves numerous stakeholders and agencies. /Photo courtesy of Central Arizona Project


By Carmen Forman | Arizona Capitol Times

As the deadline for Arizona to adopt a drought plan inches closer, state lawmakers received an early look at the water measures they could vote on later this month.

The draft legislation compiled by the Department of Water Resources looks similar to how water leaders described the measures at a Drought Contingency Plan Steering Committee meeting last week.

The six draft measures would allow Arizona to sign onto a multi-state drought plan with six other southwestern states working to stabilize water levels in the Colorado River by agreeing to use less water from the river.

But the legislation as drafted barely delves into the nitty-gritty details of a far more complex intrastate agreement that Arizona water users have been hashing out for months.

The intrastate agreement, which is still being finalized, details which water users will face cutbacks, how severe the cutbacks will be and how those users will be compensated for agreeing to take cuts.

Draft legislation obtained by the Arizona Capitol Times includes a joint resolution authorizing Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke, on behalf of Arizona, to sign onto the multi-state DCP.

But lawmakers will also have to approve a series of measures pertaining to the Arizona-specific drought plan.


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