Ducey signs bill to address dwindling water supply

Sea of Cortez

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Wednesday to provide $1.2 billion to fund grandiose projects to find new water for Arizona and smaller ones to conserve what the state already has.

The governor is particularly excited about the idea of the state being involved in construction of a plant to desalinate water, likely from the Sea of Cortez, providing fresh water that can be used for not only domestic use but also for the agriculture industry which consumes 70% of what Arizona now uses.

“We are in the second decade of the worst drought in recorded history,” Ducey said.

“We continue to experience shortages on the Colorado River,” he continued. “And the forecasts are not getting better.”

What the new law does is enable Arizona to come up with a new source of water from outside the state. And what that particularly means, he said is “the largest desalination project in history, anywhere around the globe.”

What that also will be is expensive – more than the money in the legislation. But House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, said the state won’t be picking up the entire tab.

“There are already groups, businesses that want to partner with the state,” he said, calling what’s in the legislation “leveraging money” to make the state “a partner in larger operations,” including with Mexico. And there are other options, Bowers said, like finding a way to get the floodwaters in Kansas to places where water is needed, like Arizona.

That, however, then leaves the question of how much more Arizonans may have to pay for water.

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