Water finance board comes into focus with Ducey picks

By Nick Phillips || Arizona Capitol Times 

Gov. Doug Ducey announced four of his five picks for the new Water Infrastructure Finance Authority board earlier this week, meaning mardore than half of the new board’s members have been selected. Three of his four choices have known ties to the governor.

Those with notable Ducey connections are Andy Tobin, Jonathan Lines, and Buchanan Davis. The governor also selected David Beckham, a Valley real estate investor.

The nine-member WIFA board will decide what to do with the $1 billion the Legislature set aside for water augmentation earlier this year, and smaller amounts for conservation projects. They’ll have the power to approve investments in projects that could include the governor’s preferred water augmentation project – a desalination plant in Mexico.

“Now, with the right team, we’re positioned with $1.4 billion to secure our state’s water future for the next 100 years. The board members of the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority will be important stewards of our water resources, pursuing innovative augmentation and conservation projects,” Ducey said in a news release published October 3.

But the governor insisted that he didn’t choose the four just to rubber stamp his desalination plans.

“There was no litmus test beyond (that they be) high quality individuals,” he said on October 4. “I don’t know their stance (on desalination). I mean, I’ve never talked to them on their stance. I do think they’ll be in favor of good ideas,” he added.

“We think that the desalination idea is a very good idea, but there’s still some things left to do on that. There’s 90 plus days remaining in the term, I’m confident that we’ll get that done. Regardless of what happens by January 2, that board has ample resources to work on conservation, augmentation and innovation. There are things beyond desalination, like targeted drip irrigation, many things that we can do to make our water future even more secure and brighter than it is today,” Ducey said.

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