By Nathan Brown and Camryn Sanchez | Arizona Capitol Times
The Legislature is preparing to release this year’s water budget likely expanding WIFA and not – as previously suggested – creating a new agency.
Gov. Doug Ducey proposed at the beginning of the session that Arizona create a new agency dedicated to conserving water and finding new sources for it. The agency would have been called the Arizona Water Authority and operate under the governor’s supervision to direct over $1 billion in state funding to this effort.
The water proposal didn’t sit well with lawmakers in the House and Senate however, who eventually moved away from this AWA plan and into the expansion of Arizona’s existing agency; the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority.
According to Sen. David Livingston, R-Peoria, the water bill could be released as soon as next week.
“I wouldn’t expect the vote until we do the budget,” Livingston said on Monday.
Up until about two months ago, the AWA plan was still on the table, but it didn’t get a consensus.
“The House, the Senate and the Governor literally had three different ways of doing it,” Livingston said of the water management proposal “I don’t think we’ll do a new agency.” He continued; “I think that was a previous version from maybe six weeks ago. I believe what you will see is WIFA is going to be expanded.”
With only 16 days left in the session before the Legislature needs to produce a budget, there still isn’t full consensus on the water plan.
The House and Senate are still going back-and-forth on what sort of water policy to pass this year, House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, said.