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Time for Senate to act to put more tools in Arizona’s water toolbox

Guest Opinion//June 1, 2023

Rio Verde, Hobbs, Ortega

Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega should stop playing political games. Stand up and negotiate the details of a solution to help our Rio Verde Foothills neighbors. We can do so without using Scottsdale water, while making money for the use of our excess infrastructure. We don’t need to abdicate control to the state Legislature. Not a drop of Scottsdale water or a dime of Scottsdale’s money is needed to help our neighbors. (Photo by Deposit Photos)

Time for Senate to act to put more tools in Arizona’s water toolbox

Guest Opinion//June 1, 2023

With today’s announcement that there is no longer enough groundwater in the Phoenix metropolitan area to sustain continued homebuilding in large parts of the Valley, it won’t just be the people on the news that are hurting but the pocketbooks of homebuyers across the Valley. We must move with urgency to save our state from a manageable shortage that has metastasized into a deadly cancer due to spools of red tape and a federal government that sometimes seems like it wouldn’t care much if Arizona blew away on the wind.

Kolodin, water, drought, Rio Verde
Rep. Alexander Kolodin, R-Scottsdale, stands outside the Capitol building on Jan. 11, 2022. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Rio Verde Foothills was the canary in the coal mine for this gathering storm. What our months-long effort to fix that water crisis has taught me is that the tools to stabilize our water supply are there – if only the political will exists to use them.

Simple things like brackish groundwater desalination, raising the height of Bartlett Dam, on-farm water conservation, the construction of catchment basins, and transfer of water from the Harquahala – paired with abolishing old regulations that prevent our state from getting the maximum use out of these tools – can take us a long way towards solving this problem forever. That’s why it is so disappointing to me that, so far, HB2561, which fashions a new tool to bring water to the people of the Rio Verde Foothills, has not yet been brought to a vote in the state Senate. Because if we can’t muster the political will to solve a small water crisis, how are we supposed to solve a big one? It’s time to get serious.

Alexander Kolodin is an attorney and a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources, Energy, and Water.