Griffin, Diaz call for governor to prioritize water issue

State Representatives Gail Griffin and Ruben Diaz took part in the 2022 Graham County Fair Parade. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

Contributed article

PHOENIX — Today, State Representatives Gail Griffin and Lupe Diaz, along with State Senator Sine Kerr, sent Governor Katie Hobbs a letter urging her office and the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) to prioritize time-sensitive efforts to protect Arizona’s interests in its water supplied by the Colorado River.

Unfortunately, California’s refusal to join Arizona’s agreement with the other Basin states has placed Arizona in a position of relying on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation.

As the letter states, “submitting robust comments” to the Bureau’s proposed alternatives before May 30, 2023, and “recruiting public comments from other interested stakeholders in Arizona who could be impacted” by the Bureau’s decision should be among our state’s top priorities at this time.

Additionally, the lawmakers express concern that Arizona Attorney General Mayes’ recent demands to the Arizona Department of Water Resources threaten to distract from negotiations: “[A]ny policy-driven discussions related to Arizona’s groundwater use or reforms to the Groundwater Management Act should occur in an open, collaborative forum, rather than in a politicized demand letter to ADWR that lacks the force of law.”