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With deadline looming, can Arizona Legislature agree to complex drought plan?

PHOENIX – In early December, after months (some would say years) of tough negotiations, the Central Arizona Project board approved a framework for the state’s internal Drought Contingency Plan, which outlines how expected reductions in water deliveries would be decided.

Pinal County farmers expressed concern, however, because money to help them build groundwater infrastructure was left up in the air.

Attorney Paul Orme, who represents many of those farmers, said this to the CAP board:

“It’s going to require participation by all for us to have the comfort level of, in one month from now, basically having to tell our Pinal County legislators, yes, this is something we should support.”

And that’s what Arizona’s internal Drought Contingency Plan needs – various groups telling their legislators they can support the deal. Lawmakers then can give the head of the state water department the authority to sign it. Arizona is the only one of the seven Colorado River Basin states that requires legislative approval of its drought plan.

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