The Activities of the Arizona Water Banking Authority
Established in 1996 to store an unused portion of Arizona's Colorado River entitlement, the Arizona Water Banking Authority (AWBA) provides backup supplies in times of shortages for certain fourth priority Colorado River users (through a process called firming) and Nevada. With the first-ever Colorado River shortage declaration by the Secretary of the Interior in 2022, the AWBA transitioned to its next phase, making its stored water supplies available to meet its responsibilities. In this WRRC Seminar presentation, Dr. Bernat will talk about the ways in which the Water Banking Authority is preparing for shortages, from firming the Gila River Indian Community to recovery planning with partners in the Phoenix, Pinal, and Tucson active management areas.
Rebecca Bernat works at the Arizona Department of Water Resources as a Water Specialist for the Arizona Water Banking Authority, a state program that has water stored in aquifers. Dr. Bernat’s team is preparing to distribute water to the Gila River Indian Community and many municipalities that will experience curtailment from the Colorado River. Before becoming a state employee, Bernat participated in a program with NASA to use satellite data to help ranchers monitor their water supplies. Prior to that, she worked at the WRRC as a graduate student for two years. Bernat holds a PhD in Environmental Science from the University of Arizona.