BY: Warren Tenney

Why Water Legislation Matters

Published Feb 24, 2020

Our State Capitol is once again abuzz with Legislators working hard to pass hundreds of bills with the intent to improve our lives and address issues affecting us. Interest groups of all persuasions closely follow the bills moving through Legislative committees and AMWUA is no different. With water once again being a hot topic during this current legislative session, we are paying close attention to proposed bills that impact our member municipalities and overall water management in Arizona.

AMWUA is always willing to work with legislators to build Arizona’s next generation of smart water policies. Legislative concepts must be assessed and evaluated before legislation is introduced, which is why AMWUA and the Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona initiated the Vetting Forum for Water. Since its inception last fall, four such vetting forums have been held. With good attendance, much productive dialogue was generated on legislative concepts among the Legislators and stakeholders in attendance. Now with over 40 bills being introduced this session with a focus on water, it only reemphasizes the importance of vetting bills ahead of time. This will better ensure sound water policy with less unintended consequences.

AMWUA will continually advocate for legislation that secures and strengthens our water resources. We also will raise questions and oppose legislation that we believe weakens the Groundwater Management Code and the 100-Year Assured Water Supply Program that provides the foundation for us to be able to thrive in the desert. We know water is of Statewide importance and it is not a rural or urban issue, but an Arizona issue. What happens in one part of the State can have a ripple effect from border to border.

A secure water future comes from careful planning, sound management, and bold leadership. That is why AMWUA champions rational, effective legislation and regulations that protect the water supplies on which our members rely. AMWUA has a long history of being engaged in bills that could impact how Arizona manages its water resources and here is why:

Water knows no boundaries
Our members recognize that water is an irreplaceable resource that does not flow according to political boundaries. Knowing that managing water is best accomplished on a regional basis is why the AMWUA cities are united and speak with one voice on water issues.

Water is the foundation for sustainability in the desert
The AMWUA cities recognize that this Valley has benefited from the 1980 Groundwater Management Code and having to comply with the 100-Year Assured Water Supply Program, which applies to the Prescott, Phoenix, Pina, Tucson, and Santa Cruz areas. Therefore, any statutory improvements to the Code or the Assured Water Supply Rules must apply to all of those areas otherwise we will begin to weaken that solid foundation. 
Water is the future of our communities and economy
Long-term economic strength comes directly from actively planning, managing and investing in water resources and infrastructure. Sometimes, an interest group may feel they are being hindered in the short-term by water rules. Yet, water fuels our economy and sustains our communities. The State’s overall economic health is directly linked to the safeguarding of our water for the long-term.

We’re all Arizonans
Arizona’s reputation is based on what we do collectively as a State. Successful water management in the urban areas benefits rural Arizona, and likewise strong water management in rural areas benefits the metropolitan areas. 

The Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) achieved many things including raising awareness about the importance of water among Legislators. Their increased understanding and interest in water issues within our State is appreciated and important. That is why with water being so critical to Arizona, we encourage fully vetting water legislation before the legislative session even begins to ensure sound water policies are created.

Now as Legislators debate the many water bills before them, we encourage them to take action that will continue to ensure safe and reliable water for all Arizona’s homes and businesses. Through continued collaboration, cooperation, and vetting, we will better ensure our long-term sustainability across our State.

LEARN MORE  on the water-related bills we are currently tracking including those we support.

For over 50 years, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit .

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