Arizona Water News Blog
NOTICE OF PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD FOR ARIZONA WATER PROTECTION FUND FISCAL YEAR 2020 GRANT APPLICATIONS
September 18, 2019
NOTICE OF PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD FOR ARIZONA WATER PROTECTION FUND FISCAL YEAR 2020 GRANT APPLICATIONS
ARIZONA WATER PROTECTION FUND
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCESMailing Address
Arizona Department of Water Resources
Attn: Reuben Teran
P.O. Box 36020
Phoenix Arizona 85067
1110 West Washington, Suite 310
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 45-2113, notice is hereby given that the Arizona Water Protection Fund Commission has received grant applications for its fiscal year 2020 funding cycle. Grant applications are available for public review at the Arizona Water Protection Fund website www.azwpf.gov or at the Arizona Department of Water Resources physical address described above. Written comments regarding grant applications may be submitted during the 45-day public comment period, which begins September 18, 2019 and ends November 1, 2019 at 5 pm. Written public comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., on November 1, 2019. Written comments can be hand-delivered, or sent via email or fax. If mailed, written comments must be postmarked no later than November 1, 2019. Please include application numbers and titles with any comments. For additional information, please contact Reuben Teran, Executive Director at (602) 771-8528.
Arizona Department of Water Resources statement on the Bureau of Reclamation’s August 24-month Study
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Doug MacEachern
August 15, 2019 PHONE: 602.771.8507
Statement from Arizona Department of Water Resources regarding the Bureau of Reclamation’s August 24-month Study report
- As a result of today’s 24-Month Study of conditions on the Colorado River system, Arizona will leave 192,000 acre-feet of its 2020 allocation in Lake Mead
- The May 20 Drought Contingency Plan agreement among the seven Colorado River States and the Department of the Interior, as well as Minute 323 of the Water Treaty between the U.S. and the Republic of Mexico, will prompt more participating entities to leave water, earlier and at higher levels, in Lake Mead
- The conditions set out in the May 20 DCP agreement relieve concerns of Arizona, Nevada and California that water in Lake Mead may be “stranded” there as a result of shortage declarations. Instead, the DCP encourages those States to leave Intentionally Created Surplus water in Lake Mead
- The months-long efforts of the Steering Committee co-chaired by ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke and Central Arizona Project General Manager Ted Cooke to mitigate the effects of Colorado River delivery shortfalls yielded a consensus approach that will help Arizona contend with a drier future
The release today of the Bureau of Reclamation’s August 2019 24-Month Study of conditions on the Colorado River system indicates that Lake Mead elevations at the end of 2019 – slightly under 1,090 feet — will result in a “Tier Zero” condition in the reservoir. That means Arizona will take a reduction of 192,000 acre-feet in its 2020 deliveries of Colorado River water to the Central Arizona Project canal system.
The delivery reduction in Arizona’s 2.8 million acre-foot annual allocation is in accordance with a set of Interim Guidelines set by the Colorado River States in 2007, in combination with the incremental contributions established by the States in the Drought Contingency Plan agreements signed earlier this year.
The delivery reduction will help bolster surface levels at Lake Mead, which, according to some projections, could fall to critical levels within a few years if left unaddressed.
Thanks largely to the DCP, however, Arizona will not be alone in leaving portions of its allocation in the reservoir.
As a result of the DCP agreements signed by the States on May 20, Nevada also will leave 8,000 acre-feet of its 300,000 acre-foot annual allocation in Lake Mead. The DCP agreement also stipulates that California will begin leaving a portion of its allocation in the reservoir should surface levels go below 1,045 feet.
Additionally, the Republic of Mexico will leave 41,000 acre-feet of its annual allocation in Lake Mead, according to the Binational Water Scarcity Contingency Plan that Mexico recently signed with the U.S. The BWSCP was made possible by Minute 323 to the U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty, which was entered into force in September 2017.
Those efforts – plus a much deeper than average snowpack this winter in the Rocky Mountains – have reduced the risks to the Colorado River system caused by lingering drought conditions, as well as over-allocation.
Arizona recently took some major steps to mitigate the impact in-state of delivery shortages to Central Arizona Project system water-users.
On January 31, the Arizona Legislature passed, and Governor Doug Ducey signed, legislation authorizing the Director of ADWR to join the other six Colorado River States in signing the Drought Contingency Plan. The package of legislation also included funding for conserving water in Lake Mead and for mitigating the impact of the shortage on Arizona water users, largely agricultural users in the CAP system.
- Arizona has been taking voluntary reductions in its Colorado River allocation close to 192,000 acre-feet since 2015. In 2015, the State saved 195,103 acre-feet in Lake Mead; in 2017, 290,497 acre-feet
- All told, Arizona anticipates saving nearly 279,701 acre-feet in Lake Mead in 2019 through programs such as the Pilot System Conservation Program and through Intentionally Created Surplus
Bureau of Reclamation Press Release
For more information regarding this matter, please contact Doug MacEachern, Communications Administrator at [email protected] or (602) 771-8507.
ARIZONA WATER PROTECTION FUND
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Sally Stewart Lee
July 8, 2019 PHONE: 602.771.8530
PHOENIX- The Arizona Water Protection Fund (AWPF) supports projects that develop or implement on the ground measures that directly maintain, enhance and restore Arizona’s river and riparian resources.
The AWPF Commission is now accepting applications for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 AWPF grant cycle. The deadline to submit applications is at 3 p.m. September 6, 2019. The AWPF Commission awards grants under three categories: capital projects, research, and water conservation. The grant cycle schedule, grant application manual, and electronic forms are available on the AWPF website at: www.azwpf.gov.
AWPF staff will be hosting one grant application workshop*:Location Date Time Address
July 24, 2019
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Arizona Dept. of Water Resources 1110 W. Washington St. Suite 310
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Middle Verde Conference Room. 4th Floor *Staff will also be hosting a live online webinar of the grant application workshop for those not able to attend in person. Please contact the Arizona Water Protection Fund (602-771-8528) for more information prior to July 24, 2019.
The AWPF promotes the use of incentives emphasizing local implementation rather than regulation to address resource concerns. As such, the AWPF Commission’s philosophy has been to utilize a grassroots approach to improving river and riparian resources statewide.
The Arizona Legislature established the AWPF in 1994 (A.R.S. § 45-2101, et seq.). The Arizona Department of Water Resources provides administrative, technical, and legal support to the AWPF Commission. The legislation establishing the AWPF provides that it is the declared policy of the Legislature to provide for a coordinated effort between state funding and locally led solutions for the restoration and conservation of the water resources of the state. A.R.S. § 45-2101(A). The primary purpose of the AWPF is to provide monies through a competitive public grant process for implementation of measures to protect water of sufficient quality and quantity to maintain, enhance, and restore rivers and streams and associated riparian resources consistent with existing water law and water rights, and measures to increase water availability. A.R.S. § 45-2101(B).
For additional information, please contact Reuben Teran at [email protected]
ADWR Director to provide congressional testimony on Wednesday on behalf of tribal settlement
Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke on Wednesday will express Arizona’s strong support for an important tribal settlement before a subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.
Director Buschatzke is scheduled to testify before the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife on H.R. 2459, the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2019.
The federal legislation approves a settlement agreement involving the tribe and state parties that includes providing the tribe with 4,000 acre-feet per year of Central Arizona Project water from the Colorado River. The settlement also includes the planning, design and construction of the “Hualapai Water Project,” which includes a pipeline capable of delivering 3,414 acre-feet per year to the tribal reservation at Peach Springs and beyond to the tribe’s major tourist attractions at Grand Canyon West.
Approval by Congress would authorize an appropriation of $134.5 million for construction of the Project, $32 million for operation, maintenance and replacement costs by the Tribe, and $7 million for use by the Secretary of the Interior in operating the water project before title is conveyed to the Tribe. The funding also provides technical assistance to prepare the Tribe for the operation of the Project.
For the Hualapai Tribe, the settlement provides a renewable water supply and the infrastructure to convey that water supply from the Colorado River to critical areas on the Tribe’s reservation.
“The State of Arizona strongly supports this legislation,” said Director Buschatzke.
“Half of the 22 federally recognized Indian tribes in Arizona still have unresolved water rights claims. Resolving these claims through settlement is a priority for the State.”
This appearance is the second time this year that Director Buschatzke has testified before the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. On March 28, he joined other representatives of the Colorado River Basin States, as well as Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, speaking on behalf the successful effort to pass the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan.
The Director also testified on Capitol Hill in support of the Hualapai Tribe water-rights settlement on December 6, 2017.
Who: ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke
What: Testimony on behalf of H.R. 2459, sponsored by Rep. Tom O’Halleran of Arizona
Where: Before the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife of the House Natural Resources Committee
When: 2 p.m. (EDT); 11 a.m. (MST)
First meeting of the Management Plans Work Group set for July 9
The Management Plans Working Group is the stakeholder forum for the development of the Active Management Areas Fifth Management Plans, with a goal of working to assess existing AMA conservation programs and to develop new management strategies for the 5th management period and beyond.
The first meeting will detail the recommendations of the Arizona Department of Water Resources for the remaining 4th Management Plans and begin discussions of the research and analysis needed to begin work on the 5th Management Plans.
These meetings are open to the public, and webinar information will be available upon request. Meeting information, agendas, and other documents will be posted at new.azwater.gov/5MP.
When: Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Where: ADWR main offices; 1110 W. Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85007; Conference Room 3175
Who: ADWR; direct questions to [email protected]
PRESS RELEASE: ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke presented with Arizona Chamber’s 2019 Transformational Initiative Award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Doug MacEachern
June 15, 2019 PHONE: 602.771.8507ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke presented with Arizona Chamber’s 2019 Transformational Initiative Award ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke (third from left) accepting the 2019 Transformational Initiative Award from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry. From left: Susan Anable, chair of the Chamber Board; Lisa Atkins, chair of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board (accepting on behalf of co-recipient Ted Cooke, General Manager of the Central Arizona Project); Buschatzke; and, Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber
PHOENIX – The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry today presented its Transformational Initiative Award for 2019 to Tom Buschatzke, Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, for leading the successful effort to win support for the Drought Contingency Plan in Arizona. The Arizona campaign cleared the path for the May 20 passage of the system-wide plan to help protect and stabilize the Colorado River.
Director Buschatzke shared the 2019 Transformational Initiative Award with the co-chairman of the Arizona DCP campaign, Ted Cooke, General Manager of the Central Arizona Project.
“I’m grateful to the Chamber for recognizing the importance of water to Arizona’s economy,” said Director Buschatzke.
“While this is considered an individual award, the passage of the DCP legislation in Arizona would not have been possible without the strong support of nearly every sector of water-users statewide, to say nothing of the invaluable support of the Governor and the Legislature.”
“I’m deeply appreciative, too, of the countless hours of work that my staff put into the DCP effort. They share this award with me.”
The Chamber annually celebrates legislators and business leaders who demonstrate transformational leadership by creating a vision for positive change in Arizona. The 2018 Transformational Initiative Award went to State Treasurer Eileen Klein. Klein was celebrated for her leadership as chief-of-staff for then-Governor Jan Brewer in the years following the Great Recession.
Director Buschatzke and General Manager Cooke organized the strong, statewide push for the DCP beginning on June 28, 2018.
Together, they formed a Steering Committee comprised of water users from throughout Arizona and, ultimately, found common ground in support of legislation authorizing Director Buschatzke to sign the system-wide drought plan on behalf of Arizona.
Governor Doug Ducey signed the Arizona legislation on January 31, 2019. Today, the Chamber also honored the Governor with its top leadership award, the Milton Friedman Award.
ADWR Director to present on potential impacts of DCP at Colo River conference
Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke will participate Thursday in a panel discussion on “Charting a Better Course for the Colorado River” at the annual Getches-Wilkinson Center Summer Conference in Boulder, Colo.
Buschatzke’s panel discussion will delve into expectations for the new management guidelines on the Colorado River system, including the new Drought Contingency Plans that were signed on May 20 at an event at Hoover Dam. The panel also will discuss expectations for the new Guidelines for river management that must be worked out before the existing Guidelines expire in 2026.
Panelists will consider how (or, whether) the DCPs may provide a “roadmap” for reaching agreement on those post-2026 Guidelines.
As noted in the GWC Summer Conference schedule of events, “(n)owhere was the DCP road more turbulent, and the upcoming implementation more salient, than in Arizona.”
The discussion, which begins at 9:00 a.m. (MST) will be recorded and livestreamed. It will be available for viewing here.
It’s Not How Fast You Run, It’s How You Cross The Finish Line
Arizona has worked over the course of several years with the other States in the Colorado River Basin and the United States to develop an interstate Drought Contingency Plan to protect Colorado River supplies. And finally, on May 20, 2019 we are able to cross the finish line and are able to say it’s “done.”
So, while everything is moving forward, we thought we could take a moment to slow down and reflect on how we got to this point.June 13, 2018 – Reclamation Commissioner Calls For Action On Lake Mead “Contingency” Plans
In a presentation on May 22 before the board of the nation’s largest irrigation district, the Imperial Irrigation District of southern California, Commissioner Burman urged all seven Colorado River system states – to take action “this year” on drought contingency plans to reduce the risk that Lake Mead may fall below tolerable levels.
The Arizona Department of Water Resources and the Central Arizona Project co-sponsored a panel to discuss the systemic risks posed by potential shortage, as well as announce the kick off of an Arizona discussion on how to adopt and implement the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan.
The June 28 briefing closed with the announcement that an “Arizona Steering Committee” will be formed to discuss and recommend how to adopt and implement the Drought Contingency Plan in the Lower Basin of the Colorado River system in a way that is acceptable to Arizona water users.
Demonstrating their commitment to address growing risks to Arizona’s Colorado River supply, Arizona and federal water leaders answered questions from the public for nearly three hours in central Phoenix.
Tom Buschatzke, Arizona Department of Water Resources Director, and Ted Cooke, Central Arizona Project General Manager discussed how the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan, is designed to keep Lake Mead from further dropping to the most critical elevation levels, at which point Arizona’s Colorado River water users would be facing deep cuts to their water supplies and the river system would be in extreme stress.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released drafts of the Upper Basin DCP and Lower Basin DCP documents. That gave the first glimpse at what will be included in the interstate agreement amongst the Upper Basin and Lower Basin states.
Within Arizona, stakeholders had been working to develop an Implementation Plan, a series of agreements that will govern the way that certain terms of the DCP will be implemented within Arizona once the DCP is effective.
The Implementation Plan was nearly in place. However, we were not yet able to say it was “done.”
The seven states of the Colorado River Basin system took a huge step forward toward protecting and stabilizing their drought-threatened system on Tuesday, March 19, signing a Letter to Congress encouraging swift and necessary congressional action.
Support in Congress for the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plans took a big step forward in March when lawmakers on a key House subcommittee expressed bipartisan – and, in many cases, enthusiastic – support for the effort to help stabilize the drought-troubled river system.
The proposal to take federal action on behalf of the troubled Colorado River system morphed seemingly overnight into a legislative IndyCar powered by an astonishing level of bipartisan support.
“This is certainly a Day to Remember… it certainly is not the end, but it is a step forward.” -Tom Buschatzke, Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources
Interior to host signing ceremony and media availability for Colorado River Drought Contingency Plans
ADWR completes groundwater flow model update of North Santa Cruz AMA
Arizona Department of Water Resources hydrologists have completed an update to the North Santa Cruz Active Management Area groundwater flow model, the first such updates since the release of modeling reports on the NSCAMA in 2007 and 2010.
The model is updated to include data for the approximately 14-year period beginning in 2002 through water year 2016. The calibrated, extended model will be used to provide model-simulated estimates of natural recharge and discharge components for the draft Fourth Management Plan for the Santa Cruz AMA.
Overall, the NSCAMA model update did not produce any big surprises or changes in the Department’s interpretation of the hydrology in the area.
However, the groundwater flow model update did reinforce the importance to the NSCAMA aquifer of “episodic flood pulses” — episodes, usually lasting days or weeks, when runoff from large rainfall events flows into the Santa Cruz River and increases the amount of surface flow, often by orders of magnitude.
Water levels in the Santa Cruz AMA are largely dependent on stream recharge, which varies significantly from year to year in response to streamflow coming down the Santa Cruz River. That recharge mostly occurs as a result of those episodic flood pulses generated by substantial rain events.
The North Santa Cruz AMA aquifer is a narrow, shallow basin that provides less long-term storage capacity than wider, deeper aquifers such as that of the Tucson and Phoenix AMAs. Especially following major rain events, water flows through the aquifer quickly because the soil properties are such that the conductivities are very high.
The model update found that groundwater pumping in the southern Tucson AMA is continuing to impact water levels in the northern Santa Cruz AMA north of the town of Tubac.
From 1997 to 2016, water levels in this area have been steadily dropping – up to 45 feet, using 1997-1998 as the baseline.
The northern portion of the Santa Cruz AMA is simulated as a model separate from the southern portion due to the distinct hydrologic regimes along the upper and lower reaches of the Santa Cruz River within the AMA.
For further information regarding the model update of the North Santa Cruz AMA, contact Sally Stewart Lee at ADWR. [email protected]
Governor’s Water Augmentation, Innovation and Conservation Council
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Sally Stewart Lee
Apr. 25, 2019 PHONE: 602.771.8530Governor’s Water Augmentation, Innovation, and Conservation Council Update Arizona will continue water partnerships after DCP legislation
PHOENIX – In January, following the signing of the historic Drought Contingency Plan for Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey ordered the creation of a new council with a long-term focus on water augmentation, innovation and conservation. The Governor’s Water Augmentation, Innovation and Conservation Council (Council) was created by an Executive Order signed Jan. 31, 2019.
“We aren’t going to wait 40 years to begin the process for Arizona’s next big step to secure our water future,” said Governor Ducey. “We’re going to continue building upon the great work we have done this year so Arizona remains a leader in water management and conservation.”
The Council expands and replaces the original Governor’s Water Augmentation Council (GWAC), formed as part of the Governor’s Water Initiative in 2015. The newly expanded council will investigate water innovation and conservation strategies in addition to water augmentation. The Council will have four committees focused on desalination, finances, long-term water augmentation and recycled water.
The Council held its first meeting on Friday, March 8 at the offices of the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). The Council will meet quarterly with the next meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. June 13. All Council meetings are open to the public.
The members serving on the Council are:
Basilo Aja, Arizona Cattle Feeders Association;
Lisa Atkins, Arizona State Land Department;
David Brown, Brown and Brown Law Offices;
Thomas Buschatzke (Chair), ADWR;
Misael Cabera, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality;
Chris Camacho, Greater Phoenix Economic Council ;
Ted Cooke, Central Arizona Water Conservation District;
Maria Dadgar, Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona;
Ronald Doba, Northern Arizona Municipal Water Users Association;
Sandra Fabritz, Freeport Minerals Co.;
Kathleen Ferris, attorney;
Grady Gammage, Gammage & Burnham;
William Garfield, Arizona Water Company;
Patrick Graham, the Nature Conservancy;
Glenn Hamer, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry;
Spencer Kamps, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona;
Jamie Kelley, Mohave County Water Authority;
John Kmiec, Southern Arizona Water Users Association;
Governor Stephen Roe Lewis, Gila River Indian Community;
Cheryl Lombard, Valley Partnership;
Edward P. Maxwell, Southern Arizona Leadership Council;
Stephen Q. Miller, Pinal County;
Hunter Moore, Gov. Doug Ducey Natural Resources Policy Advisor;
Wade Noble, Noble Law;
Virginia O’Connell, Arizona Water Banking Authority;
Chairman Dennis Patch, Colorado River Indian Tribes;
Sarah Porter, Kyl Center;
Philip Richards, Arizona Public Service;
Dave Roberts, Salt River Project;
Kevin Rogers, Arizona Cotton Growers Association;
Stefanie Smallhouse, Arizona Farm Bureau;
Mark Smith, Yuma Irrigation District;
Craig Sullivan, County Supervisors Association of Arizona;
Warren Tenney, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association;
Timothy Thomure, City of Tucson Water Department;
Philip Townsend, Sunland Chemical Co.;
Christopher Udall, Agribusiness & Water Council;
Jay Whetten, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association;
Rep. Rusty Bowers, Speaker of the House;
Sen. Sine Kerr designee for Sen. Karen Fann, President of the Senate;
Rep. Charlene Fernandez, House Minority Leader; and
Sen. Lisa Otondo, designee for Sen. David Bradley, Senate Minority Leader.
This new Executive Order (2019-02) supersedes and rescinds Executive Order 2015-13 which formed the original GWAC.
Celebration! Is It So Wrong To Revel In Good Water News For A Change?
Is it so wrong to want to revel in good water news a bit?
After enduring more than 19 years of lingering drought in the Southwest and its implications for the Colorado River system, we think not.
This month, Congress has passed, and the President has signed into law, the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act, which permits the Secretary of the Interior to sign a DCP agreement with the Seven Basin States.
Considering the very serious potential consequences of Lake Mead water levels falling to critically low levels, that is truly something worthy of celebration. So, too, was the remarkable bipartisanship and leadership on display among the Arizona congressional delegation, which led the DCP effort in in both the House and Senate.
On top of that, hydrology reports both in-state and in the Colorado River system indicate a 2019 winter snowpack that in many cases is well above average.
The implications of the Bureau of Reclamation’s recent April 2019 24-Month Study of projections for the 2020 water year (and, as the name implies, the next 24 months) are especially significant.
The Bureau updates its projections each month, but the April report and the August report are critical in determining how much water will be released from Lake Powell into Lake Mead in the coming year. The elevation levels forecasted to be in each of those reservoirs at the end of each year trigger those releases.
Up until the 2019 snowpack in the Rocky Mountains began seriously building in February, the odds of a first-ever shortage declaration in water deliveries in 2020 were better than even. With every 24-Month Study report from February onward, however, those odds decreased. By the recent April report, the Bureau’s analysts expressed confidence that Lake Mead would likely start 2020 “almost 10 feet above the shortage determination trigger of 1,075 feet.”
As reported by the Bureau, the improved hydrology allows Lake Powell’s operation this year to shift to a “balancing” release of up to 9.0 million acre-feet into Lake Mead.
As Bureau Commissioner Brenda Burman noted, this year’s snowpack “is welcome news.”
Still, she noted, “one good year cannot reverse the effects of nearly two decades of severe drought. Current total Colorado River System storage is approximately 45% of full capacity.”
President signs Colorado DCP Authorization Act, clearing path to finalize historic agreement
President Trump this afternoon signed the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act, the federal legislation that opens the door for the Secretary of the Interior to sign the vital drought plan along with the governor’s representatives of the Seven Basin States.
Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke will sign on behalf of Governor Ducey. Buschatzke himself was authorized to sign the agreement on January 31 by an act of the Arizona Legislature, which the governor promptly signed.
The DCP is an agreement among the Colorado River states to take steps to protect Lake Mead in the event of a shortage declaration. Years in the making, the agreement would help protect Lake Mead water levels from falling into critical depths.
Introduced to Congress in late March, the DCP Authorization Act flew through both the U.S. Senate and House, thanks in no small part to the strong support provided by the Arizona congressional delegation, notably Sen. Martha McSally and Rep. Raul Grijalva, both of whom played key roles.
Within eleven days of its introduction, on April 8, both the House and Senate approved the legislation by acclimation and sent the Act to the President’s desk for his signature.
Colorado River States representatives testify before Senate panel on need for DCP; more testimony scheduled before House panel on Thursday
Members of the seven-state Colorado River coalition told a panel of U.S. senators today that the river system serving 40 million people in the Southwest and Mexico is threatened seriously by extended drought and asked that Congress back their unified plan for addressing potential delivery shortfalls.
Joined by Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, the Colorado River system representatives — including Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke — testified Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water and Power.
Commissioner Burman testified first. She outlined the drought issues facing their region and described for the lawmakers the steps taken jointly in recent years in the U.S. by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation and the seven states to address those issues.
In an extended written statement, Commissioner Burman related how, in December 2018, she “called on all seven Basin States and key water districts in the Lower Basin to complete their work on finalizing the Drought Contingency Plans by the end of 2018.”
That work was effectively completed on March 19, when the representatives of all seven Colorado River States signed the Drought Contingency Plans at the ADWR offices in Phoenix and transmitted for consideration by Congress. Buschatzke signed the DCP agreement on behalf of Arizona.
Director Buschatzke provided the Senate panel with details about the creation of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan, or LBDCP (the Colorado River system is divided into two “basins;” the Upper Basin states including Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and the Lower Basin including Arizona, Nevada and California).Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke providing testimony before the Senate subcommittee
“The LBDCP and the drought contingency plans crafted by the Upper Basin States are the latest examples of the States working together with the Bureau of Reclamation to achieve agreed-upon solutions to issues facing the States regarding the Colorado River,” said Director Buschatzke.
Buschatzke also described the involvement of the Republic of Mexico in the effort to protect Lake Mead from falling to critical levels. In September 2017, the U.S. and Mexico signed an update, known as Minute 323, to the 1944 U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty, assuring binational cooperation in managing a more stable Colorado River system.
That agreement, said Buschatzke, “provides additional benefit to the actions of the Seven Basin States.”
Also testifying alongside Commissioner Burman and Director Buschatzke were John Entsminger, General Manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and Patrick Tyrrell, Wyoming State Engineer.Buschatzke, Entsminger and Tyrrell, following Wednesday’s hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Power
Chaired by Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, the Senate panelists present included Subcommittee Ranking Member Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Sen John Barrasso of Wyoming and Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado.
“Now that the states have finished their work, it’s time for Congress to take it across the finish line,” said Sen. McSally, who added that she wished “to get this (legislation) dropped as soon as possible and signed into law.”
Links to the written testimony of the witnesses can be found here.
On Thursday, March 28, Director Buschatzke is again scheduled to provide congressional testimony, this time before the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva.
Bureau Commissioner Burman and the ADWR Director will be joined again by Entsminger and Tyrrell, as well as by representatives from the other Colorado River states, including Peter Nelson of California, James Eklund of Colorado, John D’Antonio, Jr., of New Mexico and Eric Millis of Utah.
The Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee hearing is scheduled at 10 a.m. EDT. (7 a.m. Arizona time) on Thursday. The hearing can be viewed live here.
Effort to win Congressional support for the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plans begins in earnest on Wednesday
Advocates for the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plans will begin making their case to Congress on Wednesday, March 27, when four officials deeply involved in the effort to stabilize the system are scheduled to address the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water and Power.
The witness panel includes Brenda Burman, Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; Tom Buschatzke, Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources; John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority; and, Patrick Tyrrell, State Engineer for the State of Wyoming.
Like other witnesses, ADWR Director Buschatzke will provide oral and written testimony to the panel about the DCP.
Chaired by Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona, the subcommittee will examine the drought plans of the Upper and Lower Basins of the river system. Before the plans can be finalized, Congress must first authorize the Department of the Interior to implement them.
Set to convene at 2:30 p.m. EDT (11:30 a.m. Arizona time), The hearing will be webcast live on the committee’s website, and an archived video will be available shortly after the hearing is complete.
Witness testimony will be available on the website at the start of the hearing.
Drought Contingency Plan focus now turns to Congress: ADWR Director to testify at U.S. House and Senate
Following the agreement reached on Tuesday to jointly pursue completion of their Drought Contingency Plans, the seven Colorado River Basin states now turn attention to Washington, D.C., where congressional action is necessary to complete the plans.
That congressional action commences next week.
On Tuesday, March 19, representatives of the seven States, including Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke, signed a Letter to Members of Congress, requesting that they support the Drought Contingency Plans. Congress first must approve legislation directing the Secretary of Interior to sign and implement the plans.
With that mission in mind, Director Buschatzke will testify next week before relevant subcommittees in the both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Director has been asked to testify regarding the drought plans on Wednesday, March 27, before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water & Power.
In addition to Director Buschatzke, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman; John Entsminger, the general manager for Southern Nevada Water Authority; and, Pat Tyrrell, the Wyoming state engineer, are scheduled to testify before the subcommittee, which is chaired by Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona.
On Thursday, March 28, Buschatzke is scheduled to testify on the DCP before the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. The Director will provide lawmakers five minutes of oral testimony and will submit a lengthier statement in writing.
Water, Oceans, and Wildlife is a subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee. Arizona Rep. Raul M. Grijalva chairs the Committee.
PRESS RELEASE: ADWR releases Preliminary Hydrographic Survey Report for Navajo Reservation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Sally Stewart Lee
March 8, 2019 PHONE: 602.771.8530ADWR releases Preliminary Hydrographic Survey Report for Navajo Reservation
PHOENIX – On March 8, 2019, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) is releasing the Preliminary Hydrographic Survey Report for the Navajo Reservation (Preliminary Navajo Reservation HSR) for inspection and comment. The Preliminary Navajo Reservation HSR was prepared by ADWR as part of the Little Colorado River General Stream Adjudication (LCR Adjudication), which is pending before the Apache County Superior Court.
The purpose of the Preliminary Navajo Reservation HSR is to provide the Navajo Nation, the United States and interested parties with the opportunity to inspect the information that ADWR gathered pertaining to water right claims filed by the Navajo Nation and by the United States (on behalf of the Navajo Nation), and to file comments with ADWR.
In accordance with A.R.S. § 45-256(H), the ADWR Director gives notice that the comment period on the Preliminary Navajo Reservation HSR shall extend until June 7, 2019. All comments must be in writing and received by ADWR on or before June 7, 2019 at the following address:
The Preliminary Navajo Reservation HSR is being made available for downloading from ADWR’s website at https://new.azwater.gov/adjudications. In addition, an electronic version of the N Preliminary Navajo Reservation HSR is being made available for purchase for $20.00. Special arrangements may be made to purchase a hard copy of all or selected portions of the Preliminary Navajo Reservation HSR, including appendices. Electronic and hard copies may be purchased by calling (602) 771-8634 or (866) 246-1414 (toll free).
2019 Preliminary Navajo Reservation HSR
For additional information, please contact:
In addition, the Preliminary Navajo Reservation HSR is available for inspection at the following locations:
Final DCP Steering Committee meeting scheduled for February 19
A final wrap-up meeting of the 40-plus member Steering Committee – the stakeholder group that over the last 8 months debated and negotiated the Intra-Arizona DCP Implementation Plan – is scheduled for Tuesday, February 19 at the Central Arizona Project headquarters.
The agenda for the meeting is available at the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Planning websites at both the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the CAP.
The agenda includes:
- A recap of the Arizona DCP legislation
- A status summary of the Intra-Arizona Implementation Plan
- An outline of actions needed to achieve Congressional approval
- Delegate comments
- A Steering Committee resolution
Who: Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan Arizona Implementation Steering Committee
What: Wrap-up, recap, status reports, delegate observations and Steering Committee resolution
Where: CAP headquarters, 23636 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
When: February 19, 2019; 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Arizona Department of Water Resources conducting “basin sweep” in the Upper San Pedro Basin to collect water level measurements
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Sally Stewart Lee
Feb. 7, 2019 PHONE: 602.771.8530Arizona Department of Water Resources conducting “basin sweep” in the Upper San Pedro Basin to collect water level measurements
PHOENIX – Beginning the week of February 4, and scheduled to continue through early March, Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) field services began making an extensive effort to measure water levels in wells in the Upper San Pedro Basin.
The general area covered by this basin sweep extends from the U.S. – Mexico border to north of Benson, including the areas in and around Hereford, Sierra Vista, Huachuca City, Charleston, Fairbank, Tombstone, Saint David, and Benson, as well as, other remote areas within the basin.
ADWR staff will attempt to measure water levels at hundreds of wells in the Upper San Pedro Basin. This survey of basin wells – or basin “sweep,” as it is known — will be the first such basin survey of the area since 2006. The data collected will be used for several purposes, including analysis of water-level trends, groundwater modeling, water-level change maps, hydrologic reports, and water resource planning and management.
For more information regarding the Upper San Pedro Basin sweep, contact Sally Stewart Lee, ADWR public information officer, [email protected] or (602) 771-8530.
Arizona Governor puts saving Lake Mead onto center stage on social media platforms
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey is giving over much of his social media platform to getting a Drought Contingency Plan completed in Arizona.
The art on the Governor’s Twitter feed home page is one of those startling “bathtub ring” photos of Lake Mead, which depict the reservoir’s dramatic decline in recent years.
His official Facebook page includes the same image.
The Governor’s Office has emblazoned the Lake Mead photo with a quote from former Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt, who observed recently that “this is the moment” to get an Arizona DCP agreement through the State Legislature.
Ducey has asked lawmakers to act quickly to approve proposed legislation that would give the Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources authority to enter into a drought plan with the other Colorado River states, as well as the federal government.
In December, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, Brenda Burman, set a January 31 deadline for states to complete work on their Drought Contingency plans. The Bureau, a division of the Interior Department, is overall manager of the river system.
In addition, the Governor’s Office has published video on Twitter of a briefing of Ducey’s proposed budget, which includes funding for the DCP. The briefing, held today in Tucson, includes the graphic copied below, which demonstrates why the drought plan is so vital. Discussion of the DCP funding begins after the 59-minute mark.
As depicted in the “Securing Arizona’s Water Future” graphic below, Lake Mead is in jeopardy of falling into a high-risk zone within five years if a system-wide DCP is not in effect. Implementing the DCP, on the other hand, flattens out the curve and gives the Colorado River states time to enact additional drought-fighting measures.