Gov. Hobbs’ Water Policy Council to get working on assured water supply, groundwater

May 6, 2023, 6:30 AM

FILE - Water from the Colorado River diverted through the Central Arizona Project fills an irrigati...

FILE - Water from the Colorado River diverted through the Central Arizona Project fills an irrigation canal, Aug. 18, 2022, in Maricopa, Ariz. In Arizona, water officials are concerned, though not panicking, about getting water in the future from the Colorado River as its levels decline and the federal government talks about the need for states in the Colorado River Basin to reduce use. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

PHOENIX – Gov. Katie Hobbs made her selections to the new Water Policy Council official on Thursday, connecting a diverse group of state officials and stakeholders focused on perpetuating the state’s assured water supply.

Hobbs created the council with her fourth executive order Jan. 9 and announced it at her first State of the State address that same day.

“We must also all understand this: barring a miracle from nature, it will likely get worse before it gets better,” Hobbs said in her speech. “This should be a wake-up call for all of us, because it will take all of us to solve it.”

The executive order places the Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources — currently Tom Buschatzke — as chair for the council.

Directors of the departments of Agriculture, Environmental Quality, Forestry and Fire Management, State Land and Commerce Authority are mandatory members.

The governor can select other members without limit from a variety of public and private organizations including the legislature and tribal communities.

Legislative members announced today include Republicans Rep. Gail Griffin and Sen. Sine Kerr, and Democrats Rep. Stacey Travers and Sen. Priya Sundareshan.

While the council extends four seats on the council to four tribal representatives, as announced last week, Maria Dadgar, executive director, Inter Tribal Council of Arizona is the only tribal member.

The Council is tasked with developing policy and legislative recommendations for the governor, and is expected to begin its work with a focus on Assured Water Supply and rural groundwater policies.

“I’m committed to passing water policies that meet this moment and tackle the challenges we face,” Hobbs said.

“I know that with our new Water Policy Council, we will develop the path forward and ensure our state’s natural resources are available for generations of Arizonans to come.”

The Water Policy Council will convene in a closed session on May 17, at 1 p.m. at the Executive Tower, 1700 W. Washington St, Phoenix.

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Gov. Hobbs’ Water Policy Council to get working on assured water supply, groundwater