Fact Sheets & Documents
The reduced deliveries, which will help stabilize Lake Powell and the entire Colorado River system, underscore the fundamental challenges facing the West’s water supply. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced today that it will reduce planned deliveries of Colorado River water from Lake Powell to Lake Mead, and instead retain nearly a half-million acre-feet of water in Lake Powell.
(PHOENIX–April 14, 2022) As the state of Arizona considers establishing the Arizona Water Authority (AWA) and dedicating up to $1 billion to finance major water projects, a statewide survey reveals that the most popular water management approach supported by voters features both conservation and augmentation tools. In addition, “long-term water supplies” was again found to be a top issue of concern among likely voters, trailing only education and immigration issues.
While (WAC) supports policies that ensure water security for all Arizonans and acknowledges the need for a Statewide entity to be created which can finance efforts to augment the State’s water resources, regretfully we do not feel that SB 1611 suﬃciently reflects the principles and approaches of Arizona’s past successes in sound water management.
We are an informal working group of stakeholders that evolved from the Non-AMA Groundwater Committee of the Governor's Water Augmentation, Innovation and Conservation Council (GWAICC). We formed on our own volition to encourage broader, more continuous discussion of groundwater pumping concerns developing outside of Active Management Areas and how cooperative management approaches can help to sustain our remaining water supplies.
In a new statewide survey, likely Arizona voters expressed serious concern over water issues facing the state, saying it is a top three issue (behind immigration and border issues and education). More than 74% of survey respondents believe the state is in a drought, defined as a period of low rainfall leading to a shortage of water. And overall, more than two-thirds (67%) of likely Arizona voters said that they do not believe there will be enough water to meet the needs of residents, agriculture, industry, and other businesses for the next 100 years.
“Check your politics at the door and look at the future of this state. Now is the time to act.” Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt urged state lawmakers to take action to protect rural groundwater during a press conference Tuesday, Feb. 22, at the Arizona State Capitol.
Arizona has reached a crossroads. Longstanding and languishing water issues have come to a head. Key expiration and renewal dates for significant regional water management policies and agreements are imminent.
The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) supports the Legislature addressing critical water policy issues that will help ensure all Arizona communities have water and economic security now and into the future. Our 2022 priorities will focus on the following.
Water for Arizona Coalition urges passage of Grand Canyon Protection Act Action would build on recent significant progress Congress has made to support clean and resilient water supplies for Arizona communities and beyond. The Water for Arizona Coalition today urged Congress to pass the Grand Canyon Protection Act. The bill would make permanent a temporary ban on new uranium and other hard rock mining on about 1 million acres of public land around Grand Canyon National Park.
(PHOENIX, ARIZONA – November 10, 2021) The new agreement is a significant milestone to help bolster critical reservoirs and conserve water for people and nature. The states of Arizona, California and Nevada have announced new plans to conserve 500,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead annually until 2026 as a result of the dire hydrologic conditions facing the Colorado River Basin.
The Water for Arizona Coalition is grateful for the hard work and tough conversations you are undertaking with the Post-2025 AMAs Committee to identify groundwater management issues and work toward solutions. We appreciate the work you are doing to lead this important forum.
Arizona is rapidly entering a new water reality that is defined by aridification. If we are going to find ways to adapt our groundwater management systems to meet this moment, we need to collectively acknowledge this reality. The past can no longer be our reference point for what we face now and in the future.
PHOENIX - Today, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released new projections for Colorado River reservoir conditions, which demonstrate an increased possibility that Lake Mead could fall into a Tier 2 or Tier 3 shortage in the coming years. In response to the study, the WAC issued the following statement:
The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) works to ensure that water policies and programs support reliable, equitable, and clean water supplies for all people, flowing rivers and streams, and healthy, vibrant communities. The Coalition is focusing on three broad and interconnected water policy initiatives essential to the future of water supplies in the state.
Rural communities need new tools to secure their water future. Development of alternatives to the currently limited rural groundwater conservation options will be important to meet the specific and diverse needs of each rural community across Arizona. Representative Regina Cobb’s 2021 bill, HB 2679, introduced the new concept of “Rural Management Areas” (RMAs). Below is a review of groundwater management options available to Arizonans today and an introduction to the concept of RMAs:
The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) seeks additional General Fund dollars for the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to support planning, protection, and long-term stewardship of our water resources. ADWR and ADEQ suffered deep budget cuts following the Great Recession that continue to constrain the agencies’ operations and, perhaps more importantly, their ability to ensure long-term, safe, and reliable water supplies to support Arizona’s economy.
February 8, 2021: The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) supports HB 2679 because we believe it holds significant promise and innovative potential to help address water challenges in rural Arizona. The bill proposes to establish Rural Management Areas (RMAs) to allow for local planning and management of groundwater resources in certain rural areas within counties that border or contain the Colorado River.
January 12, 2021: On the heels of 20 years of drought, and recent commitments to import less water from the Colorado River, the last few years have made clear that Arizona needs to make the most of every drop of water in order to maximize economic, community, and environmental benefits across the state.
Arizona Rural Groundwater: Potential Tools for Local Management.
Groundwater is a critical resource in Arizona. This is especially true in rural Arizona, where it is often the primary or even only supply of water for residents, agriculture, industry, and other businesses.
This document presents information about a variety of tools that have been used to manage groundwater at the local level.
The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) shares the desire of Greater Arizonans to protect and steward groundwater as a valuable asset for future generations. Our Coalition believes that local Arizona
communities are positioned to adopt, and implement with the assistance of the Arizona Department of
Water Resources, locally tailored solutions to sustainably manage their water resources.
The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) urges the CAP Board to oppose the provisions of S. 4228, introduced by Senator Martha McSally that mandate the operation of the Yuma Desalting Plant (YDP). The five organizations in our coalition, representing over 60,000 Arizona members, oppose operation of the YDP because it would decimate the Ciénega de Santa Clara by cutting off the water supply to this 40,000-acre wetland and ecological treasure of international significance in Mexico.
The Water for Arizona Coalition supports SB 2895 that reforms Subsequent Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas in Arizona. The ability to plan for the future is a core element of smart water planning that has helped build Arizona's reputation as a leader in water management. Yet, many of our rural communities do not have forward-looking water planning tools available to them.
The Water for Arizona Coalition supports HB 2675 as amended in Committee. On the heels of 19 years of drought, and recent commitments to import less water from the Colorado River, 2019 made clear that Arizona needs to make the most of every drop of water in order to maximize economic, community and environmental benefits across the state.
Dear Chairman Schatz and Ranking Member Murkowski: We write today in support of S. 3308, and appreciate Senator Kelly’s leadership and foresight in introducing this legislation with Senator Sinema that will provide the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) with greater authority to use and manage their Colorado River water rights. We believe it is needed even more urgently than it was last year, when we first offered our support for this proposal. Drought and climate threats continue to worsen each year.
The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) supports policies that ensure water security for all Arizonans. WAC acknowledges the need for a Statewide entity to be created which can finance efforts to augment the State's water resources. WAC is grateful for the opportunity to participate in that dialogue and respectfully asks that this process include and reflect the holistic approach, management, acquisition and conservation policies which have historically led Arizona to the leadership position it holds today. Regretfully, we do not feel that SB 1611 sufficiently reflects the principles and approaches of Arizona's past successes.
The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) supports HB 2661 because it takes a
critical, innovative step forward to address water challenges in rural Arizona. The bill allows counties to create Rural Management Areas (RMAs) to enable local planning and management of groundwater resources in areas with identified water challenges. It establishes a fund to provide $50 million per year from the state lottery to support RMAs, including funding voluntary,
compensated land and water conservation plans to conserve and augment groundwater supplies within RMAs.
As the Legislature and Governor’s office contemplate large-scale investments in water infrastructure, and with potential to match federal dollars from the IIJA, Arizona has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make high impact investments in water sustainability to support communities, tribes, rivers, farmers and ranchers, and businesses across the state.
Important progress made by Congress to support clean and resilient water supplies for Arizona communities and the Grand Canyon Protection Act as a Next Step
(PHOENIX – December 15, 2021) Arizona, Nevada, key California agencies under the Colorado River Board of California, and conservation groups issued a resolution today outlining a commitment to seek effective solutions to challenges facing the Colorado River, including achieving new reductions in Lower Colorado River water use and taking steps to protect the long-term sustainability of the Colorado River Basin.
The Water for Arizona Coalition stands ready to ensure funds are maximized for the benefit of Arizona communities and rivers.
With climate change driving aridification and water shortages across the Southwest, the Water for Arizona Coalition enthusiastically welcomed Congress’s passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, which is now on its way to the President's desk.
(PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Oct. 6, 2021) Today, the Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee of the United States Senate hosted experts such as the Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources Tom Buschatzke and Colorado River Program Director Jennifer Pitt of the National Audubon Society to discuss the impacts of drought in the West and how funding through the IIJA will help improve the outlook.
PHOENIX - For the first time in history, the Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that oversees Colorado River operations, declared a Tier 1 water shortage at Lake Mead. This declaration will result in reduced water deliveries from Lake Mead for Arizona and Nevada as well as Mexico under a binational agreement.
Water for Arizona Coalition believes, Arizona is on the right track with HB 2679, Rural Management Areas, by which the state would authorize and support the development of locally-driven groundwater management programs. We believe the RMA approach can and should apply statewide. WAC shares results of a statewide poll that shows that Arizonans - across the state and the political spectrum – strongly support this approach.
The Water for Arizona Coalition applauds the Arizona Legislature for giving the state’s mounting water needs increased attention. Some of the current proposals, such as paying experts at the Department of Water Resources closer to market rates and helping to clarify water rights in the adjudications process, are sensible and long overdue. However, when it comes to securing reliable water supplies for a drier future, more work is needed. Arizona needs new thinking and an “all of the above” strategy that maximizes any investments in our state’s water supplies.
February 22, 2021: HB 2056, which passed through the Arizona Legislature unanimously, will support farmers, ranchers and others to pursue innovative water conservation measures.
Today, the Water for Arizona Coalition thanked Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Rep. Gail Griffin, House Speaker Rusty Bowers, and Sen. Kirsten Engel as well as others for their leadership in passing HB2056.
February 8, 2021: The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) opposes HB2248/SB1175, HB2737, and SB1459, which could block the Arizona Corporation Commission from adopting final rules that will require 50% of the state’s power to be carbon-free by 2032, 75% by 2040, and 100% carbon-free by 2050.1 A retreat on carbon emission goals is a threat to Arizona’s economic security and water security, which are inextricably linked.
January 8, 2021: Public Comment on Potential Legislation Authorizing the Colorado River Indian Tribes to Market its Colorado River Water Entitlement and Related Agreements.
The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) works to ensure water policies and programs that support reliable and clean water supplies for all people, healthy flowing rivers and streams, vibrant communities, and resilient economies. The Coalition is pursuing three broad water policy initiatives essential to the future of water supplies in the state.
Protect Groundwater Supplies
Secure Colorado River Supplies for the Long Term
Clean Water for Arizona
Arizona Rural Groundwater: Get the Facts
Groundwater is water found underground in the crevices and spaces in soil or rock, supplying springs and wells. It is a vital water supply in Arizona, making up about 40% of the water used within our state in a typical year. In many Arizona communities, especially rural communities, groundwater is the primary or even only supply of water
Recent changes in 2018 Farm Bill programs provide new opportunities to substantially reduce losses and conserve water through voluntary incentive measures that, if fully utilized, are essential to ensuring sustainability of the Colorado River. The next step is connecting Farm Bill funding with Arizona producers to help facilitate innovative projects to lessen the supply and demand imbalance that exists on the river and provide long-term water security for our state.
The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) supports HB 2896, allowing county boards of supervisors to establish Rural Management Areas (RMAs) to allow for local planning and management of groundwater resources in rural areas. Groundwater is an essential resource, especially for Arizona’s rural communities. It is the water supply for homes, industries, and agriculture. In many areas of rural Arizona it is the primary or even only available water supply.
The Water for Arizona Coalition (WAC) seeks additional General Fund dollars to support the Department of Water Resources and its mission. ADWR suffered deep budget cuts following the Great Recession that continue to constrain the agency’s operations and, perhaps more importantly, its ability to ensure long-term, reliable water supplies to support Arizona’s communities and economy – from all sources - Colorado River water, groundwater and Arizona surface water.