With so much in the news and on the minds of our legislators, it can be hard for an issue, even one as critical as Arizona’s water future, to rise to the top. However, it is the Year of the Bird and, in Arizona, if we’re going to commit to celebrating and protecting birds, then we have to celebrate and protect our rivers, too. Read on to learn where water is still taking center stage and how WRAN and our partners are working to keep it there
- The Governor’s State of the State Address
Water was just one of many of the many priorities discussed by Governor Ducey during his January 8th State of the State Address, which marks the beginning of Arizona’s 2018 legislative session. While honoring those he sees as Arizona’s heroes, he mentioned Governor Bruce Babbitt and his role in “ushering in the historic water policy that’s allowed us to grow and thrive in the desert” (referring to the 1980 Groundwater Management Act). In reference to ongoing drought, he asked for “responsible water policies that will protect us from sharing in California’s water crisis.” With hope for progress during the 2018 legislative session and in light of ongoing conflicts between water stakeholders and agencies, he asked that “…Arizona speaks with one voice to secure the state’s water future.”
These quotes show that the Governor understands how critical and urgent it is to develop the policies, such as a Lower Basin drought contingency plan, that will ensure sustainable and reliable water supplies for Arizona.However, with so many other priorities mentioned during the address, it is clear that keeping our leaders’ attention will be a constant effort.
Arizona Chamber of Commerce Awards
Every December, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce’s President and CEO, Glenn Hamer, gives out “Hammer Awards” to those who have made a difference for Arizona in the past year. This year, he gave the “Lost in the Noise” award to Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke for his under-celebrated leadership in representing Arizona in the binational talks that led to the signing of Minute 323, the updated Colorado River water agreement between the United States and Mexico.
Join Mr. Hamer in thanking our leaders here.
While we wish that the signing of this extremely important agreement had received more attention, we’re happy that the Arizona Chamber of Commerce recognizes that our water and economic future go hand-in-hand.
Arizona’s Craft Breweries
What better place to talk about water than your favorite watering hole?
This month, Western Rivers Brewers’ Council member breweries started rolling out coasters, posters, and table-talkers designed to motivate visitors to take action for Arizona’s rivers and water. Whether it’s the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo on the coaster or the realization that craft beer relies on reliable water that spurs you to action – your voice is needed and valued.
Learn more about our member breweries here and stop by to grab a coaster and thank them for taking action!
- The Coconino National Forest
Tom Mackin sits on our Wildlife Resources Partners working group wearing his Arizona Wildlife Federation hat. In this role, he helps us unify the voices of birders, hunters, and anglers - showing our policy makers that water is a unifying, not divisive, issue. Tom also volunteers for the Friends of Northern Arizona Forests, which was recently honored as the Arizona Daily Sun’s Organization of 2017.
We thank Tom for the time he dedicates both to WRAN and to the Friends of Northern Arizona Forests. Since healthy forests are critical to healthy rivers, we don’t even mind sharing his time!
Although there is still much we don’t know about how water policy will unfold during Arizona’s 2018 legislative session, we can be sure that water will be sharing the stage with many other issues. We’ll continue to take every opportunity to educate policy makers about threats to Arizona’s rivers and divert their attention toward enacting sound water policy that protects them.
We’ll be encouraging you to do the same and providing you with opportunities to take action – stay tuned, and thank you for taking action for Western Rivers!