PHOENIX -- House Democrats voted unanimously on a historic Drought Contingency Plan late Thursday. The interstate agreement between Arizona, California and Nevada, and the negotiated multi-part implementation plan will help the state adjust to using less water from the Colorado River to preserve levels in Lake Mead and adopting conservation measures to help secure our long-term water future.
The Drought Contingency Plan resolution passed the House 60-0, as the implementation bill 59-1 with one member not voting. Gov. Ducey immediately signed the legislation into law to beat the Jan. 31 deadline to reach agreement set by the United States Bureau of Reclamation.
"This bill is not the end, it's just the beginning," said House Democratic Leader Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma. "They say politicians think about the next election, but statesmen, think about the next generation. This is a moment for statesmanship, and I'm proud to stand with each and every one of you. We will face many more challenges like this. If we work together going forward like we have today, I have nothing but confidence in our future."
All 29 House Democrats stuck together to negotiate an additional $2 million in the plan for new research and industry conservation projects. Last year this fund helped more than a dozen innovative water management and conservation projects, and now there is double the amount of resources to do even more.
“If we don’t listen to each other we’re not going to get anywhere, and that’s what we did," said Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon, D-Green Valley, a member of the DCP Steering Committee. "We heard each other, we agreed to disagree, and while not everyone got what they wanted, this is something that is going to be good for the state of Arizona. I like to say you don’t know the value of your water until your well runs dry. Let’s not let that happen.”
Rep. Kirsten Engel, D-Tucson, who also served on the DCP steering committee that developed the plan, emphasized that Arizonans must continue to acknowledge and address climate change.