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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Audubon’s High Priorities for the Arizona Legislature in 2023

**Este artículo se puede encontrar en español**

Whereas water is at all times a giant situation in Arizona, rather a lot occurred final yr specifically:

And whereas we got here shut, in the end Arizona didn’t cross any significant laws that might equip rural Arizona communities with new instruments to handle their groundwater assets, regardless of rising requires assist

All these components play into 2023, the place Audubon and our companions will likely be arduous at work pursuing extra choices for groundwater administration for rural Arizona, which can in the end assist communities plan for his or her future and defend rivers, streams, and habitat for birds just like the Yellow-breasted Chat and the Vermilion Flycatcher. And we’ll work to make sure state companies have the assets they should do their jobs: conserving and defending Arizona’s lands and waters.

Listed below are our prime priorities for Arizona’s 2023 Legislative Session:

  1. Cross laws that gives communities in rural Arizona (locations situated outdoors of Energetic Administration Areas) with the power to plan, handle, and defend their groundwater assets in a locally-adaptable strategy.
  2. Appropriately fund the Arizona Division of Water Sources to allow them to perform their obligations to Arizona’s residents to handle, preserve, and defend water provides (rivers and groundwater). Present the Arizona Division of Environmental High quality with the will increase in funding and costs they should execute their directives to guard water high quality all through the state.
  3. Monitor and monitor the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) because it unveils standards and requirements for its new grant and mortgage packages to fund water infrastructure and water conservation initiatives. In late December 2022, a rushed and not-thoroughly vetted proposal for a desalination plant and pipeline challenge was introduced earlier than the recently-formed WIFA board. Almost 500 members of Audubon’s Western Rivers Motion Community alerted board members to decelerate and to not approve such a large proposal with out additional dialogue and vetting. We’ll proceed to be careful for initiatives that might siphon the obtainable funding with out enough vetting, and we’ll advocate for cost-effective options to our water disaster that we are able to implement NOW, versus far-off and far-away water importation initiatives.
  4. We’ll advocate for insurance policies that assist us handle the water we DO have as correctly as attainable. We should patch the holes within the leaky bucket of Arizona water coverage, equivalent to fixing our at the moment limitless groundwater withdrawal guidelines in rural Arizona; advancing the long-running Basic Stream Adjudications lawsuit to find out who has the rights to how a lot in-state river water; and dealing with Tribes in Arizona who’ve nonetheless not been capable of settle their water rights claims. Leaving these points unresolved generates uncertainty in a time when Arizona’s water provides are beneath unbelievable stress.

At Audubon, we all know that we should act with urgency and make good coverage selections now to assist the state adapt and remodel in order that sooner or later our rivers, communities, farms, companies, birds, fish, and habitat can proceed to flourish in Arizona. And we’d like your assist to do that. Be sure to be part of the Western Rivers Motion Community to remain up-to-date on the newest happenings on Arizona water coverage and calls to motion. Your voice makes a huge impact on decisionmakers, and we’d like it, greater than ever.

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