Governor Ducey signs historic drought contingency plan

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey has signed historic legislation ratifying Arizona’s Drought Contingency Plan (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 allows Arizona to join six other western states and Mexico in signing onto an inter-state water agreement and spells out ways Arizona will contribute to conserving more water from the Colorado River.

“Today is historic for Arizona,” said Governor Ducey. “The Drought Contingency Plan is the most significant water legislation passed in nearly 40 years – and it was done by putting party labels aside and putting Arizona first. But make no mistake: today marks an important step, but not the last step, needed to protect our water supply. As Arizona transitions to a drier future, we must continue to promote a culture of conservation – one that enables the unbeatable quality of life and boundless opportunity we enjoy. My thanks to President Fann, Speaker Bowers, Leaders Bradley and Fernandez, Director Buschatzke and General Manager Ted Cooke, as well as the many stakeholders and everyone who worked together to get this deal done. I look forward to building on this bipartisan success to ensure Arizona remains a leader in water conservation policies and that we can truly secure Arizona’s water future for generations to come.”

“On behalf of the Department of the Interior, we applaud the action of Arizona to pass legislation authorizing completion of the Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman. “This is an historic day for Arizona and with this huge step forward, we are more optimistic than ever that all seven Colorado River Basin States will put a plan in place to protect the Basin this year. Today represents an important day for all Arizonans – they should be proud of their water leaders.”

Governor Ducey also issued an Executive Order creating the Water Augmentation, Innovation, and Conservation Council. The council, comprised of legislative leadership, the director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and other appointees, will recommend opportunities for long-term water conservation, continuing Arizona’s proactive approach to securing our state’s water supply.


Facing a 19-year drought, Arizona along with six other western states and Mexico were tasked with developing a plan by January 31 to conserve more water in Lake Mead, from which Arizona gets nearly 40 percent of its water.

Since July 28, 2018, 40 stakeholders representing diverse interests from across Arizona have worked to develop what’s known as the Drought Contingency Plan. The plan balances water reductions in the state to ensure no one user is taking the brunt.

Two bills that enable Arizona to ratify the Drought Contingency Plan were signed by Governor Ducey:

  • One authorizes ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke to sign onto the interstate Drought Contingency Plan on behalf of Arizona.
  • The other allows for certain water stakeholders within Arizona to make agreements on water usage rights and provides $30 million for Lake Mead conservation, $2 million for ground water conservation and $9 million for Pinal County agriculture infrastructure projects.