Gov. Hobbs unveils groundwater model, announces $40M investment in water conservation

Jun 1, 2023, 7:00 PM | Updated: Jun 2, 2023, 7:36 am

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs unveiled Thursday a groundwater model and the Arizona Department of Water Resources’ latest study of groundwater conditions across the Phoenix Metro area.

In addition to the model being unveiled, Hobbs announced a $40 million investment of American Rescue Plan Act funds to spur increased water conservation, fund critical water infrastructure and promote sustainable groundwater throughout the state.

The Phoenix Active Management Area Ground Water Model evaluates water level changes after 100 years of existing and projected pumping, and gives water managers critical information to secure Arizona’s water resources, according to a press release.

“With a plan in place to stabilize the Colorado River and our reservoirs on the Salt and Verde Rivers full to the rim it’s now time to focus on protecting our groundwater supplies,” Hobbs said in a press conference Thursday.

In over a period of 100 years, the result of the model projection shows approximately 4% of the demand for groundwater in the region will not be met without further action. The state’s Assured Water Supply Program is the most rigorous water management standard in the nation, providing water security for existing communities and continued growth, according to the press release.

“This Phoenix AMA groundwater model and 100-year forecast are critical tools that help us look into the future and proactively manage our water supplies. It allows us to continue to provide certainty for business and communities and foster sustainable water use and economic growth,” Hobbs said.

The new Phoenix AMA model shows the primary goal of the 1980 Act is largely being met, according to the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

Approvals of new assured water supply determinations that rely on pumping groundwater will be paused to not add to future deficits, according to Hobbs.

“This pause will not affect growth within any of our major cities where robust water portfolio have proven to cover current and future demands,” she said. “This pause will not affect industrial development or construction of more than 80,000 lots outside of our designated sites for which certificates have been issued.”

The Arizona Water Resiliency Fund will be administered by the Arizona Department of Water Resources to facilitate sustainable groundwater management through grants and financial support for pressing water resiliency efforts, the press release stated.

“Families and businesses from around the world come to Arizona in part because they know we are serious about water management, and that we are the leader in safeguarding groundwater supplies. What the model ultimately shows is that our water future is secure: the Assured Water Supply Program is working. Water supplies for homeowners and businesses are protected,” Hobbs said in the press release.

“Growth has been planned for, and will continue. My message to Arizonans is this: we are not out of water and we will not be running out of water because, as we have done so many times before, we will tackle the water challenges we face with integrity and transparency.”

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Gov. Hobbs unveils groundwater model, announces $40M investment in water conservation