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  • Writer's pictureArizona House Democrats

PRESS RELEASE: Stahl Hamilton for bipartisan action after reports show rural groundwater decline

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             

December 11, 2023



PHOENIX – On December 1, the Arizona Department of Water Resources published its first round of mandated supply and demand assessments, measuring the first seven of 51 groundwater basins. The findings were deeply concerning – but not surprising – with five of the seven rural basins showing declining groundwater levels. The pace of depletion in each groundwater basin varies, but the one thing they all have in common is that there are no scenarios in which groundwater levels can be expected to improve without intervention.

 

After years of legislative inaction and blockage, Governor Hobbs convened a Water Policy Council made up of a diverse coalition of stakeholders and decisionmakers who spent the last six months devising a flexible regulatory framework that addresses the unique needs of rural Arizonans while prioritizing local control. 

 

“These supply and demand assessments make it clearer than ever that for rural communities like Wilcox where residents’ wells have already gone dry, the clock has run out for lawmakers to pass rural groundwater reform,” said Representative Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, who has been active on water issues as a legislator representing large portions of rural Southern Arizona. "Between conversations I’ve had personally on the porches of voters from Bisbee to Sasabe and the countless emails my colleagues and I receive daily about this issue, the concerns about water security in rural Arizona have been heard loud and clear. The results of these supply and demand assessments are a stark wakeup call but also an opportunity to come together on a bipartisan plan to address our long-term water security and ensure the sustainability of rural groundwater resources. There should be no more legislative gatekeeping, no more sticking our heads in the sand, only a focus on solutions."

 

Stahl Hamilton added, “Senator Sine Kerr and Representative Gail Griffin, the chairpersons of the House and Senate Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committees, must put an end to their blockade and schedule hearings for the groundwater management proposal developed by Governor Hobbs’ Water Policy Council at the first opportunity during the upcoming 2024 legislative session.”

 

The Governor's water policy recommendations can be found here.

 

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