Where We Stand Hero

AMWUA vigorously protects our members’ ability to provide assured, safe, and sustainable water supplies and advocates for Arizona’s continued water security.

Where We Stand On The Issues

Smart water policy and careful planning, investment, and management have enabled AMWUA’s members to build robust, reliable water supplies that support our communities and economy. It is imperative that we continue to address the issues in front of us to ensure the future viability of those supplies. Learn more about some of the issues we are working on:

Where We Stand on Legislation

2018 - Fifty-third Legislature - Second Regular Session

Arizona Senate

SB1507: Water program amendments

In Brief: Omnibus water bill

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Failed in Senate on third read

Description: The most substantive portions of this omnibus water bill does the following: (1) Requires the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) Director to prepare a desalination action plan and present it to key state leaders, (2) Requires notification of key legislative leaders when ADWR receives an application to transfer water out of state, whether it be surface water, groundwater, or other water; (3) Allows persons holding a certificate of irrigation grandfathered right to exercise that right to withdraw groundwater for containerized plants; (4) Provides detailed criteria for the ADWR Director to calculate the volume of extinguishment credits for the extinguishment of grandfathered rights in the Pinal AMA; (5) Creates an additional 10-year active management plan—the Sixth Management Plan from 2025 to 2035; (6) Places oversight of the Division of Natural Resource Conservation in the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management; (7) Allows the board of supervisors in a non-AMA county that has adopted a mandatory 100-year adequate water supply requirement to vote unanimously to not readopt the requirement.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70718?SessionId=119

SB1508: Water; desalination action plan

In Brief: Requires the ADWR Director to prepare a desalination action plan

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Held in House

Description: This bill requires the ADWR Director to prepare a desalination action plan that, among other things, considers costs of brackish water treatment, and identifies areas of the State where brackish groundwater exists and areas that could benefit from treated brackish supplies. The plan may also evaluate potential binational agreements or projects with respect to ocean desalination. The Director must submit a report to designated state leadership by September 30, 2019. As amended, the language requires an evaluation of the sources of brackish water, as well as impacts to water supplies of users in the area if water is withdrawn and treated. Desalination has an important role to play in Arizona's water management. However, this language appears to codify what the State is largely already doing as part of the Governor's Water Augmentation Council.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70719?SessionId=119

SB1509: Water; interstate sales

In Brief: Notification requirements when ADWR Director receives an application to transfer water out of state

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Held awaiting third read on reconsideration

Description: As amended, this bill requires the ADWR Director to notify the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives when the ADWR Director receives an application to transport water out of the state.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70720?SessionId=119

SB1510: Irrigation grandfathered right; containerized plants

In Brief: Allows the use of irrigation grandfathered rights for use on containerized plants

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Vetoed by Governor on 3/29/18.

Description: This bill states that in an initial Active Management Area, a person who holds a certificate of irrigation grandfathered right may exercise that right to withdraw groundwater to water plants in containers on or above the surface. Among other things, the bill also requires the right holder to separately measure any groundwater used for watering plants in containers and groundwater for irrigation; however, the total amount of water may not exceed the amount allowed by the irrigation water duty for the farm. This proposal was among the issues discussed as part of the Governor's workgroups last year.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70721?SessionId=119

SB1511: Pinal AMA; groundwater; extinguishment credits

In Brief: Requires the ADWR Director to adopt rules to calculate extinguishment credits in the Pinal AMA

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Held in House

Description: This bill provides detailed criteria for the ADWR Director to calculate the volume of extinguishment credits for the extinguishment of grandfathered rights in the Pinal AMA. Under the 100-year assured water supply rules, a farmer within an AMA with irrigation rights can choose to extinguish those rights anytime in exchange for what is called an "extinguishment credit" that can be used to demonstrate a 100-year assured water supply for new development. The last two legislative sessions, AMWUA opposed bills that sought to weaken the ADWR Director's authority and would have caused increased groundwater pumping in the Pinal AMA. During the Governor's Water Solutions Conversation, water users in the Pinal AMA came to a compromise with each other and ADWR on the amount of credits received upon extinguishment. AMWUA staff understands that in its current form, the language in this bill is essentially the compromise that was reached.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70722?SessionId=119

SB1512: Active management areas; sixth management period

In Brief: Creates the Sixth Management Plan from 2025 to 2035

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Held in House

Description: This bill creates an additional 10-year active management plan-the Sixth Management Plan from 2025 to 2035-under the Groundwater Management Act for each initial Active Management Area. The bill includes language that virtually mirrors the statutory guidance for the previous management plans. The bill also allows the ADWR director to approve administrative variances from irrigation water duties or conservation requirements for the Fifth and Sixth Management Plans, which is similar to provisions found in statute for previous management plans.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70723?SessionId=119

SB1513: Effluent; recycled water; definition

In Brief: The word “effluent” should be defined as “recycled water” in ADWR informational materials

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Amended by unrelated strike everything amendment. Held in House.

Description: As introduced, this bill stated that for the purposes of ADWR's informational materials, the word "effluent" should be defined as "recycled water." This bill has been amended by a “strike everything” amendment on 3/20/18, and no longer deals with the definition of effluent.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70724?SessionId=119

SB1514: Natural resource conservation districts; administration

In Brief: The Division of Natural Resource Conservation overseen by the Department of Forestry and Fire Management

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Held in House

Description: This bill places oversight of the Division of Natural Resource Conservation in the Department of Forestry and Fire Management. It currently resides in the State Land Department.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70725?SessionId=119

SB1515: Adequate water supply; county review

In Brief: Allows county board of supervisors for a county outside an AMA to not readopt the 100-year adequate water supply water requirement

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Held in House

Description: As amended, this bill allows a county board of supervisors in a non-AMA county that has adopted a mandatory 100-year adequate water supply requirement to vote unanimously to not readopt the requirement if certain conditions are met. The conditions, which relate to the county or largest city in the county, include participation in the following: Groundwater recharge, reclaimed water reuse, water conservation programs, and use of low water use plants in certain publicly owned areas.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70728?SessionId=119

SB1516: Central Arizona project; sovereign immunity

In Brief: Multi-county water conservation district (i.e. CAWCD) shall not assert the defense of sovereign immunity

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Held in Senate Rules Committee

Description: This bill states that a multi-county water conservation district (i.e. CAWCD) shall not assert the defense of immunity under the Eleventh Amendment in litigation brought by a water user to enforce the terms of a Central Arizona Project (CAP) water delivery contract or subcontract. As written, the language in this bill could be read to imply that CAWCD does have sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment and could assert this defense in actions unrelated to the enforcement of subcontracts. As amended, the bill also requires both ADWR and CAWCD to inform the other if one is a party to discussions or negotiations of interstate agreements involving Colorado River water.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70726?SessionId=119

SB1039: Appropriation; Arizona water protection fund

In Brief: Arizona Water Protection Fund appropriation of $400,000

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Signed by Governor on 5/16/18

Description: This bill, as amended, appropriates $400,000 from the state general fund in fiscal year 2018-19 to the Arizona water protection fund. The Arizona Water Protection Fund is a state-run program that funds projects to protect and enhance water quality and quantity in Arizona's rivers, streams, and riparian areas. Some of these efforts include revegetation, erosion control, channel stabilization, research, and water conservation.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/69699

SB1229: Water infrastructure finance authority; appropriation

In Brief: $30 million appropriation to WIFA

Sponsor(s): Mendez and 16 others

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: This bill appropriates $30 million from the state general fund to the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA). WIFA is a state agency that provides low-interest loans to water providers.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70328

SB1339: Appropriation; WQARF

In Brief: Appropriates $15 million from the general fund to the Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF)

Sponsor(s): Peshlakai and 8 others

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: This bill appropriates $15 million from the general fund to the Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF) in fiscal year 2018-19. WQARF is a state-sponsored program established by the Legislature to clean up hazardous soil and groundwater contamination.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70475

SB1493: Environmental quality; dredge, fill permits

In Brief: Authorizes ADEQ to establish Clean Water Act dredge and fill permit program

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Signed by Governor on 4/12/18

Description: Under current law, the United States EPA issues permits under the Clean Water Act for the discharge of dredged or fill materials into waters that meet the definition of Waters of the United States. This bill essentially authorizes ADEQ to establish a Dredge and Fill Permit Program that is consistent with and no more stringent than the federal program. The bill lists requirements for the rules ADEQ would adopt to implement the program. ADEQ and the state are pursuing this legislation as a means of attempting to have EPA assign responsibility to the state over this federal program. To date, only Michigan and New Jersey have obtained authority from EPA to oversee this program at the state level.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70704?SessionId=119

SB1494: Environment; underground injection control program

In Brief: Requires ADEQ to establish a permit program for the Underground Injection Control Program

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Signed by the Governor on 4/10/18.

Description: The Underground Injection Control Program is a program primarily overseen by EPA in cooperation with ADEQ that regulates the underground injection or discharge of both hazardous and nonhazardous liquid and gas. This bill requires ADEQ to establish a permit program that meets the minimum federal requirements for permitting injection wells in Arizona and requires the ADEQ Director to adopt rules for that purpose. ADEQ and the state are pursuing this legislation as a means of attempting to have EPA assign responsibility to the state over this federal program. To date, only four individual Underground Injection Control permits have been issued in Arizona, largely for mining purposes. As Arizona looks at using brackish groundwater supplies, some have argued that deep underground injection of brine may be a means of making brackish desalination in Arizona more economically feasible.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70705?SessionId=119

SB1475: Ecological water; program; fund

In Brief: Establishes the Ecological Water Stewardship Program

Sponsor(s): Dalessandro

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: This bill establishes the Ecological Water Stewardship Program and directs the ADWR Director to adopt rules to carry out its mission. The bill directs the ADWR Director to establish a set of standard measures to define ecological water needs in Arizona, including criteria for examining the relationship between ecological water and groundwater and surface water in Arizona. The bill directs the Director to take all reasonable steps necessary to monitor, maintain, improve and restore the surface water systems of Arizona. After making a determination of the ecological water needs for each watershed or subwatershed, the Director would publish a preliminary report that includes a determination of the ecological water and monitoring methods necessary to maintain and restore freshwater ecosystems. If the Director determines in any watershed or subwatershed that there is insufficient ecological water, the Director shall take all steps necessary to appropriate any unappropriated water to maintain the ecological water requirements or acquire by purchase or lease existing water rights.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70686

Arizona House

HB2512: Water program amendments

In Brief: Omnibus water bill

Sponsor(s): Bowers

Last Action: Held in Senate

Description: The most substantive portions of this omnibus water bill does the following: (1) Requires the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) Director to prepare a desalination action plan and present it to key state leaders, (2) Requires notification of key legislative leaders when ADWR receives an application to transfer water out of state, whether it be surface water, groundwater, or other water; (3) Allows persons holding a certificate of irrigation grandfathered right to exercise that right to withdraw groundwater for containerized plants; (4) Provides detailed criteria for the ADWR Director to calculate the volume of extinguishment credits for the extinguishment of grandfathered rights in the Pinal AMA; (5) Creates an additional 10-year active management plan—the Sixth Management Plan from 2025 to 2035; (6) Places oversight of the Division of Natural Resource Conservation in the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management; (7) Allows the board of supervisors in a non-AMA county that has adopted a mandatory 100-year adequate water supply requirement to vote unanimously to not readopt the requirement.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70742?SessionId=119

HB2203: Wildland fuel loads; watershed protection

In Brief: Provides process for select officials to address catastrophic fuel loads on state or federal land

Sponsor(s): Finchem

Last Action: Amended by an unrelated strike everything amendment on 3/19/18. Held in Senate Rules Committee.

Description: As introduced, this bill authorized a mayor, chairman of the board of supervisors, or a county sheriff to make a formal determination that a “catastrophic wildland fuel load” exists on state or federal land located in the borders of the city, town or county, and to take several enumerated actions to address the condition. On 3/19/18, this bill became a vehicle for an unrelated “strike everything” amendment.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/69966

HB2291: Groundwater basin; department survey

In Brief: Requires ADWR to conduct a groundwater survey of the Upper Colorado River Planning area

Sponsor(s): Cobb

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: This bill requires ADWR to conduct a survey of areas in the groundwater basin of the Upper Colorado River Planning area to determine the status and resiliency of groundwater supplies, and submit a report to the House Speaker, Senate President, legislators in affected areas, and relevant County Supervisors. ADWR would be required to gather extensive data, including well usage information. The bill also allows the County Board of Supervisors to recommend metering and monitoring of wells to ADWR.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70109

HB2352: Appropriation; lead screening; charter schools

In Brief: Appropriates $100,000 for screening for lead in drinking water in charter schools.

Sponsor(s): Engel and 14 others

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: This bill appropriates $100,000 from the general fund in addition to other appropriations for fiscal year 2018-2019 to ADEQ for screening for lead in drinking water in charter schools.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70149

HB2410: Geologists; landscape architects, regulatory repeal

In Brief: Eliminates certain Board of Technical Registration requirements for geologists and landscape architects.

Sponsor(s): Mosley

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: This bill eliminates certain Board of Technical Registration requirements and related statutory language for geologists and landscape architects. This bill is similar to provisions in a bill from 2016 that sought to deregulate the professional geological practice. The 2016 bill resulted in a legislative compromise that resulted in the voluntary licensure of geologists. Under current law, geologists make certain certifications under the groundwater code.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70195

HB2214: WQARF; appropriation

In Brief: Appropriates $15 million from the general fund to the Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF)

Sponsor(s): Gabaldon

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: This bill appropriates $15 million from the general fund to the Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF) in addition to any other appropriations made in fiscal year 2018 2019. WQARF is a state-sponsored program established by the Legislature to clean up hazardous soil and groundwater contamination.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/69978

HB2551: Water; desalination action plan

In Brief: Requires the ADWR Director to prepare a desalination action plan

Sponsor(s): Bowers

Last Action: Amended by an unrelated strike everything amendment on 3/20/18. Held in House.

Description: This bill requires the ADWR Director to prepare a desalination action plan that, among other things, considers costs of brackish water treatment, and identifies areas of the State where brackish groundwater exists and areas that could benefit from treated brackish supplies. The plan may also evaluate potential binational agreements or projects with respect to ocean desalination. The Director must submit a report to designated state leadership by September 30, 2019. As amended, the language requires an evaluation of the sources of brackish water, as well as impacts to water supplies of users in the area if water is withdrawn and treated. Desalination has an important role to play in Arizona's water management. However, this language appears to codify what the State is largely already doing as part of the Governor's Water Augmentation Council.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70790

HB2552: Desalination action study committee

In Brief: Establishes a 13-member desalination action study committee

Sponsor(s): Bowers

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: This bill establishes a 13-member desalination action study committee comprised of political leaders and representatives from relevant agencies, water users, and other stakeholders. The bill directs the committee to (1) Consider state statutory or regulatory impediments to using high salinity water, (2) Consider the economic impact resulting from the amount and effect of high salinity water, and (3) Submit a report regarding the committee's activities, findings and recommendations on or before December 31, 2018.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70791

HB2553: Adequate water supply; county review

In Brief: Allows county board of supervisors for a county outside an AMA to not readopt the 100-year adequate water supply water requirement

Sponsor(s): Bowers

Last Action: Held in Senate

Description: As amended, this bill allows a county board of supervisors in a non-AMA county that has adopted a mandatory 100-year adequate water supply requirement to vote unanimously to not readopt the requirement if certain conditions are met. The conditions, which relate to the county or largest city in the county, include participation in the following: Groundwater recharge, reclaimed water reuse, water conservation programs, and use of low water use plants in certain publicly owned areas.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70792

HB2556: Environment; water quality; brine

In Brief: Directs the ADEQ Director to review limitations on the use of brackish water

Sponsor(s): Nutt and six others

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: Directs the ADEQ Director, in coordination with the ADWR Director, by December 1, 2019 to "review existing data on the use and reuse of high salinity water and identify locations in this state, including hydrologically isolated areas, as potential sources for supplementing water supplies in this state." The bill also directs the ADEQ Director to post the report on ADEQ's webpage.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70795

HB2596: Natural resource conservation districts; administration

In Brief: The Division of Natural Resource Conservation overseen by the Department of Forestry and Fire Management

Sponsor(s): Toma

Last Action: Amended by an unrelated strike everything amendment on 3/27/18. Strike everything amendment signed by Governor on 5/16/18.

Description: As introduced, this bill placed oversight of the Division of Natural Resource Conservation in the Department of Forestry and Fire Management. It currently resides in the State Land Department. On 3/27/18, this bill became the subject of an unrelated “strike everything” amendment.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70835

HB2608: Well reporting; Mohave; La Paz basins

In Brief: Well reporting in Mohave and La Paz basins

Sponsor(s): Cobb

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: This bill requires the owner of a well in one of four groundwater basins located in Northwest and Western Arizona to annually report groundwater withdrawals, if the well was drilled on or after January 1, 2012 and the well has a capacity of more than 100 gallons per minute. The bill states that a well owner that does not use a meter can maintain records of the estimated water use. The bill requires reporting for a period of three years, and the bill is repealed after December 31, 2020.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70857

HB2581: Ecological water; program; fund

In Brief: Establishes the Ecological Water Stewardship Program

Sponsor(s): Gabaldon and others

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: This bill establishes the Ecological Water Stewardship Program and directs the ADWR Director to adopt rules to carry out its mission. The bill directs the ADWR Director to establish a set of standard measures to define ecological water needs in Arizona, including criteria for examining the relationship between ecological water and groundwater and surface water in Arizona. The bill directs the Director to take all reasonable steps necessary to monitor, maintain, improve and restore the surface water systems of Arizona. After making a determination of the ecological water needs for each watershed or subwatershed, the Director would publish a preliminary report that includes a determination of the ecological water and monitoring methods necessary to maintain and restore freshwater ecosystems. If the Director determines in any watershed or subwatershed that there is insufficient ecological water, the Director shall take all steps necessary to appropriate any unappropriated water to maintain the ecological water requirements or acquire by purchase or lease existing water rights.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70819

HB2429: Public work contracts; prevailing wage

In Brief: Public works contract wage requirements

Sponsor(s): Cardenas and 14 others

Last Action: Held in Committee

Description: This bill states that a public works contract that is valued at two hundred fifty thousand dollars or more shall contain a provision requiring the wages paid by the contractor or any subcontractor to be at least the prevailing rate of wages for work of a similar nature in the state or political subdivision in which the project is located. AMWUA staff does not anticipate that this bill will move forward this session.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/70260

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