A historic water bill just passed the Arizona State Senate with bipartisan support. SB1740 greatly enhances the Arizona Water Infrastructure Financing Authority (WIFA), which would be responsible for managing a huge $1 billion appropriation to address the water issues our state is currently facing. Arizona has once again demonstrated that it is the most proactive Lower Colorado River Basin state, ready to address water concerns and serve as a model for other Arizona water neighbors, as well as the US Department of Interior.
WIFA is a statewide entity with the necessary new governance structure, duties, authorities, and staffing to promote water conservation, while identifying and developing new, innovative long-term water sources. WIFA will be tasked with finding new water solutions but will not be a regulatory body. WIFA will achieve this through limited ownership and control of new water resources, as well as by providing financing to other water projects.
This bill contains strong guiding principles and a purpose statement that will help to create a focused vision for fiscally responsible implementation. As our state faces challenges, relying on the status quo is no longer an option. The enhancement of WIFA enables Arizona to take a proactive approach to water management rather than relying on the federal government to shape our future.
When it comes to water, Arizona has always been innovative, enterprising, and resourceful. Arizona is renowned for its strategic and aggressive planning, preparedness, and preservation of water. Despite having a population that is more than seven times larger than it was in 1957, Arizona consumes less water today. The Central Arizona Project, the 1980 Groundwater Act, the more recent Drought Contingency Plan (DCP), and the 500 Plus Plan are just a few examples of how Arizonans have worked together across party lines to address current water concerns.
“Water issues affect all Arizonans, regardless of their political affiliation. This legislation required broad bipartisan collaboration, the opinions of many experts, and practical solutions. Today, we fulfilled our promise to Arizona by setting in motion a strong pathway towards securing future water sources,” said Senator Sine Kerr (R-13).