Arizona AG Kris Mayes Under Fire for Feuding with Her Client, State Water Department over Water Resources

Democratic Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes may have broken ethics rules after she recently criticized her client, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) over concerns about their handing of the state’s water resources as drought conditions escalate. In a letter to ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke, she said the agency is not reviewing groundwater basins often enough to determine whether the agency should become more heavily regulated. Mayes also expressed concern that water transfers ADWR approves may have “grave consequences.”

But an attorney with substantial experience in government law said, “Mayes had no authority to make those moves and likely violated attorney ethics rules since she is the attorney for ADWR. It’s a violation of attorney-client privilege,” he told The Arizona Sun Times.

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Legislative Houses Combine in New Committee to Study Arizona’s Water Supply

Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) and Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) announced Tuesday that members of both houses will collaborate in a new ad hoc committee relating to the state’s water supply.

“The availability of water for the success of all industries in our state is critical to our economy,” said Speaker Toma. “Strengthening our existing water resources while we secure our future water supply is a top priority as we work to achieve common-sense solutions for our state. We need to study all issues related to water carefully and work to identify any remaining issues that need to be resolved.”

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Goldwater Institute Issues Plan to Solve Arizona’s Water Problem That Doesn’t Expand Government

As concerns grow that Arizona and neighboring states may be facing a water shortage due to one of the worst droughts in history, solutions are being proposed in the Arizona Legislature and by water experts.

The Goldwater Institute issued a report on March 15 in conjunction with the Environment Research Center (PERC), outlining reforms in four specific policy areas to deal with the problem. The report asserts that these proposals would not “require a dramatic expansion of the role of government.”

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Sinema Leans on California to Join Colorado River Water Pact

As six states wait for California to join its Colorado River Basin water use agreement, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema called on the state to be willing to seal the deal.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation on Tuesday, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado all agreed to work toward finding the best way to distribute the water source, which is facing drought conditions, but California was the missing signature.

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Arizona Congressman Urges California to Cut Its Colorado River System Water Use

A U.S. Congressman has a request for California Gov. Gavin Newsom: reduce the state’s use of water from the Colorado River. 

U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton, a Phoenix Democrat, penned a letter to Newsom telling him that because the Colorado River system faces becoming a deadpool, it needs every basin state to take action to prevent an economic catastrophe.

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Arizona Senate Plan to Address Water Concerns Would Scale Back Governor’s Proposed Arizona Water Authority

Concerns are growing in Arizona that a water shortage may be looming down the road. Gov. Doug Ducey proposed creating an Arizona Water Authority (AWA) earlier this year in his 2022 State of the State address, but now the Arizona Senate majority caucus is suggesting a simpler plan that would use the existing Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA). 

Ducey’s plan to augment water resources, which he forged in partnership with Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) and Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa), would cost $1 billion and include integrating new technologies such as desalination, start large scale water augmentation projects, and encourage reuse and efficiency with current supplies.

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Colorado River Water Shortage Significant for Arizona

Arizona’s water supply is going to take a hit in 2022 because of falling levels behind the Hoover Dam.

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior announced Monday that, based on projected water levels at Lake Mead, an unprecedented Tier I shortage emergency would be enacted Jan. 1 for the Colorado River and its basins. 

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