Two years ago this Sunday, Governor Doug Ducey signed the Drought Contingency Plan, a historic effort by Arizona and six other western states to manage one of their most precious resources: water. As part of the multi-state Drought Contingency Plan (DCP), Arizona is committed to conserving more water from the Colorado River.
Alongside the plan, Governor Ducey created the Governor’s Water Augmentation Innovation and Conservation Council and signed into law the Groundwater Conservation Grant program, which helps protect Arizona’s groundwater resources by focusing on water education, innovation and technology.
The Groundwater Conservation Grant program provides for conservation projects in Arizona’s five Active Management Areas: Prescott, Phoenix, Pinal, Tucson and Santa Cruz.
The Groundwater Conservation Grant program provided $2 million to AMAs for a variety of groundwater conservation projects and programs to protect Arizona’s groundwater resources. The grant proposals focused on water innovation and technology, infrastructure water efficiency, ecological enhancement, and public outreach and engagement. Strategies were laid out within the projects to reach goals to reduce consumption and withdrawal of groundwater, reduce the loss and waste of water, improve water efficiency, and increase in the reuse and recycling of wastewater. The conservation projects have the potential to conserve more than 12,000 acre-feet (AF) of groundwater each year and impact more than 80,000 people.
Examples of the successful grants include:
Phoenix AMA – Maricopa Water District’s Northern Avenue Lateral Surface Water Capacity Restoration has the potential to conserve 2,750 AF per year;
Tucson AMA – Tucson Water’s Expanding a Water Loss Control Program has the potential to conserve 4,757 AF per year;
Phoenix and Pinal AMA – The University of Arizona’s Using Project-Based STEM Education to Enhance Groundwater Conservation has the potential to reach 1,000-1,450 students per year;
Prescott AMA – Arizona Department of Transportation’s SR 89 Stormwater Recharge Pilot Project has the potential to conserve 2,100-3,100 AF per year; and
Santa Cruz – City of Nogales’ Water Conservation Education and Technology program has the potential to reach 5,000 customers in two years with 10-15% water use reduction.
Governor Ducey on January 31, 2019 signed legislation ratifying Arizona’s DCP, marking the passage of one of the most significant pieces of water legislation in Arizona since the Groundwater Management Act of 1980. The legislation allowed Arizona to join six other western states and Mexico in signing onto an inter-state water agreement and spelled out ways Arizona will contribute to conserving more water from the Colorado River.