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Governor Signs Historic Water Bill to Study Mohave and La Paz County’s Groundwater Levels

Post Date:06/11/2019 5:10 PM

Toward the end of this past state legislative session, Governor Ducey signed into law HB2467 (committees; west basin water users), which establishes a 10-member Mohave County West Basin Water Users Study Committee and a 10-member La Paz County West Basin Water Users Study Committee to analyze groundwater withdrawal data and make recommendations to the Arizona Department of Water Resources on programs and policies for the basins. Each Committee is required to submit a report of its recommendations to the department, the Governor and the Legislature by December 31, 2021. The Committees self-repeal on July 1, 2022. Representative Regina Cobb (Legislative District 5) sponsored the bill, and testified during committee hearings on its behalf.

Details of the law is as follows:

The state appropriated $100,000 to the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) in FY 2019 for the purposes of contracting with an independent consultant to estimate: 1) the rate of groundwater depletion in the Northwest basins planning area; and 2) the number of years of groundwater remaining in the basin. ADWR is required to submit the independent consultant's report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, President of the Senate and Governor by December 31, 2019.

Provisions

1. Establishes the Study Committees consisting of 10 members each. (Sec. 1)

2. Specifies that the appointed Mohave County committee members represent the users of groundwater in the Hualapai Valley Basin and the Sacramento Valley Basin and the appointed La Paz County committee members represent the users of groundwater in the Renegras Plain Basin, the McMullen Valley Basin and the Butler Valley Basin. (Sec. 1)

3. Outlines membership for the Study Committees as follows:

a. The State Land Commissioner or designee, as a nonvoting advisory member;

b. Two persons actively engaged in an animal or plant production in the respective county;

c. One county supervisor from the respective county;

d. One city or town council member or the mayor of a city or town that is located in the respective county;

e. One person representing industrial water users in the respective county;

f.  One person representing a natural resource conservation district in the respective county;

g. One person representing mining water users in the respective county;

h. One public member who owns three or more wells in the respective county; and

i. One member of each the House of Representatives and Senate who represent a legislative district that contains at least one of the prescribed basins, to serve as co-chairs. (Sec. 1)

4. Requires members of the Study Committees to reside or own property in the prescribed county and be appointed based on their knowledge of, interest in and experience with the development, use and conservation of water. (Sec. 1)

5. Requires the Study Committees to:

a. Receive and analyze all groundwater withdrawal data developed by ADWR;

b. Make recommendations to the Director of ADWR, including recommendations on programs and policies for the basins;

c. Review and make recommendations to the Director of ADWR regarding the independent consultant's report;

d. Submit a report of its recommendations to the Director of ADWR, Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the Senate by December 31, 2021. (Sec. 1)

6. Prohibits members of the Study Committees from receiving compensation other than expense reimbursement. (Sec. 1)

7. Repeals the Study Committees on July 1, 2022. (Sec. 1)

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