HB 2338 Would Help Augment Rural Water Supplies
A bill, introduced in the Arizona legislature as House Bill 2338, provides the framework for creation of voluntary Regional Water Augmentation Authorities, enabling rural Arizona to finance needed water projects. House Speaker Andy Tobin introduced the bill to implement recommendations of the bipartisan Arizona Water Resources Development Commission he initiated in 2010. The WRDC released its Supplemental Report in September 2012 and Tobin’s bill deals with the report’s major recommendations. In addition to authorizing regional water augmentation authorities, the bill asks for a $30 million general fund appropriation for the Water Supply Development Revolving Fund. The augmentation authorities could then get low-interest loans from the fund. The Prescott Daily Courier quoted Tobin as stating that the legislature might need to continue to add $30 million a year for as long as a decade to provide funds for the water supply expansion projects identified by the WRDC. Membership in the regional water augmentation authorities is proposed to be voluntary and may include Arizona cities, towns, private water utilities, other statutorily defined water providers, private entities, counties and State, Tribal and Federal entities.