Named for former senator, new ASU center studies state’s most precious resource

Jan 23, 2015, 5:00 PM | Updated: 5:00 pm

PHOENIX — Addressing a 2013 water summit hosted by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl encouraged leaders to create a more open dialogue on the state’s most precious resource.

That led to a dialogue about an ASU center that would help it happen.

“If set up right, we could facilitate a conversation for people who are concerned,” Kyl said in an interview.

Today, the Morrison Institute’s Kyl Center for Water Policy is working to create the dialogue Kyl talked about as well as figure out how to meet Arizona’s long-term water needs.

“Unless there is a consensus, it’s very difficult to get anything done,” Kyl said. “It’s pretty clear that we need to come up with a prioritized group of actions that meet the challenges that we’re going to have to deal with.”

Sarah Porter, former executive director of the Arizona Audubon Society, recently joined the center as director.

“I could make the argument, and win, that our long-term water supply is the most critical issue in Arizona,” Porter said. “Our future is completely bound up in it, our economy too. It’s all about water.”

Porter said one immediate goal of the center, established in November, is making sure that the Arizona Department of Water Resources has the funding it needs. She said the department is severely understaffed and underfunded.

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Named for former senator, new ASU center studies state’s most precious resource