The Candidates for Governor stance on water policy

Drought 4I have been doing a series of posts this year about Arizona’s water security. In Looming water shortage requires action to conserve water, I argued that “Water conservation policy should be a central issue in every legislative campaign this year.”

The Arizona Republic today published a series of reports on water policy, including “Water scarcity is one of Arizona’s most serious, ever-present problems,” Innovators challenged over Arizona water scarcity, and this opinion by Linda Valdez, If you wait for a water crisis, it’s too late. What she said.

There is also this breakdown of the candidates for governor stance on water policy. How governor hopefuls would handle water:

Today, we focus on water policy.

Arizona is likely to experience a shortage of water, sometime after you’ve left office. What specifically would you do to prepare?

Ducey: In many respects, Arizona is a model for the rest of the country on best practices for water management. It is critical that the next governor continue the good work of those that have come before, prioritizing long-term planning needs.

In the short-term, I believe improvements in our forest management will help improve our water supply. When our forests are too dense, the canopy effect keeps the water from getting to the ground and too much debris on the forest floor absorbs what water there is. The result is less water making it to our lakes and aquifers.

Holy crap! Trees cause drought? This is the single most stupid thing someone has said since Ronaldus Magnus claimed that “trees cause more pollution than cars do.” Trees cause pollution – RationalWiki. “Drought (noun) a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall; a shortage of water resulting from this.” Drought is not caused by tree canopy or forests absorbing water. Our forests are dying due to drought conditions and a shortage of water.  Just, Wow.

We also need to look at more long-term planning. We need to evaluate the way we currently consume water and make sure that we’re being as efficient as possible. We also need to explore the potential of new technologies like desalination to continue to allow Arizona to grow and meet the needs of our diverse economy.

DuVal: I was fortunate to play a significant role in developing the Groundwater Management Act while working in Gov. Bruce Babbitt’s administration. Today, we find ourselves at yet another crossroads, when we must choose between taking the path that recent governors have been on, continuing to study the issues and failing to take action, or take the path of action. I choose the path of action.

First, we need to promote water conservation at home. People will do more to conserve water on their own, without new regulations, if government did a better job educating the public about their water supplies. My administration will focus on bringing in new water conservation technologies for homes, businesses and agriculture.

Second, I will task the Arizona Department of Water Resources to develop a detailed analysis of the Groundwater Management Act and provide specific recommendations for improving the law.

Third, we need to maintain strong relationships with the Colorado River Basin states, Native American tribes, and Mexico to ensure that the Colorado River Compact continues to meet our needs in light of the evolving realities of Colorado River resources.

Finally, we need to explore development of new water resources, including water desalination. Water conservation will ultimately be only one part of the solution as Arizona continues to grow.

Roosevelt Lake and the Central Arizona Project were big, visionary projects. Does Arizona need another one, and what would it be?

Ducey: Not at this time. But even though we don’t have an immediate crisis [See Linda Valdez opinion], we still should be thoughtful and plan for the future by looking at conservation and augmentation options that will allow us to adapt to Arizona’s growing needs and, if necessary, start the planning process for a larger-scale generation project.

A hydro-electric dam? Pray tell what river do you intend to dam when Arizona is in a mega drought, and the dams we have are already reaching dangerously low capacity?

I want to be an independent and responsible voice for Arizonans, and it would be unwise to endorse a specific approach before the costs and benefits of these options can be evaluated. As governor, I would do that by meeting with people from every corner of the state to better understand their needs and challenges with water resources, and work to build a consensus around any large-scale plan.

The classic bureaucratic response when one does not want to deal with an issue: form a committee or a commission to study it (until the public loses interest).

DuVal: Looking forward, we will likely need to “go big” again to discover and develop new projects to ensure our vital water supply. Areas of the state outside of the CAP service area would benefit from large water supply augmentation projects: communities along the rim, in northern Arizona, along the Verde and San Pedro Rivers, to name a few.

Desalination presents enormous potential, but it will require significant federal investment, and years of technical and political work to make it happen. Despite the complexities, these are the sorts of ideas that we need to continue to explore in order to protect our future.

The difficulty with large water projects is finding a way to finance them without impacting the checkbooks of hard-working Arizonans.

The Water Supply Development Revolving Fund was passed in 2007, with the goal of providing financial resources primarily to rural areas for developing new water supplies. Unfortunately, the fund went mostly unfunded until $1 million was appropriated this year. When I am elected, I will ask my staff to determine whether this fund is a viable tool for financing water projects, and to explore other ideas that will not require an increase in taxes.

The price of water is likely to rise substantially. What, if anything, can the governor do to ease the pain?

Ducey: As governor, I want to make sure that Arizona’s hardworking taxpayers get to keep more of what they earn. You work hard for your money, and I respect how hard rising costs of living can be for Arizonans. That’s why I will work to lower our income tax with the goal of driving it all the way down to zero. But keeping water affordable is about more than just having money in your pockets to pay the bills.

Ducey has said several times already that Arizona needs to explore desalination. Does he have any clue how expensive this process is? And how is he going to pay for it when he want to eliminate income taxes, fully 40% of Arizona’s general revenue? This is more of the snake oil salesman.

The best way to keep water prices down is to avoid unnecessary increases in costs. As governor, I will vigorously oppose federal or state regulatory proposals — particularly from the EPA with its regional haze rule affecting Navajo Generating Station, proposed rule on carbon emissions and navigable waters rule — that would drive up the cost of water and the energy required to provide it.

Riiight, more anti-guvmint “states rights!” ideological protests that piss away your tax dollars on frivolous lawsuits that the state is going to lose because the U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld those EPA regulations over the past two years. Ducey will enrich his GOP lawyer buddies who bring these frivolous lawsuits, but it will not produce a single drop of water for Arizona.

DuVal: It’s tough for a governor to affect the price of water once it begins to rise.

What a governor can — and Arizona’s next governor must — do to reduce future pain at the water pump is pursue solutions that will keep our water supplies diverse and plentiful. To do this, I will:

• Take an active and visible leadership role in promoting water conservation and education, and support innovative conservation technologies for homes, businesses, and agriculture.

• Support the development of new water supplies, especially for rural Arizona.

• Analyze existing laws and government programs for opportunities to improve water management in Arizona.

• Resolve the existing surface water right adjudications and Indian water rights claims.

• Develop new water supplies for Arizona without impacting the checkbooks of hard-working Arizonans.

• Oppose any new law or regulation that makes it more difficult for Arizonans to access affordable and clean water supplies.

I guess Fred felt compelled to add that last one in Arizona, but at least it is his last ranked priority, compared to Ducey making frivolous lawsuits a top priority.

It is clear from this comparison between the candidates that Fred DuVal is the policy wonk who has thoughtful solutions to Arizona’s water security. Dicey Doug Ducey offers pseudo-science — trees cause drought — and ideological talking points not grounded in reality or sound water policy. Ducey is not a serious candidate. For the love of God people, this is a no-brainer!

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