Republican State Senator Sine Kerr has been at the forefront of defending Arizona’s groundwater situation since she was elected and is now offering legislation that continues her fight. Over the past year, Governor Hobbs and her administration passed rules impacting rural areas without input from local water users. Senator Kerr’s bill would rectify that, creating locally managed with input and control by those impacted by the rules. Senate Bill SB1221 is an appropriations bill that will mandate an Active Basin Management Area and allow locals to elect members under the concept of “consent of the governed.”
Kerr, who is also a rancher and farmer and highly supportive of agricultural and other rural water users, has been a thorn in the side of the Hobbs administration. She is trying to remove the political impact of water, which is a precious commodity in Arizona’s desert-heavy environment and, as a result, a political hot-button issue. Arizona Globe previously reported on a number of water-related issues. These include the prospective denial of continuing groundwater use by foreign alfalfa growers, Gov. Hobbs’ potential moratorium on crucial housing water needs, and, more directly related, Arizona Representative Gail Griffin’s (R19) dire warning of a potentially political takeover of rural groundwater control.
In a statement dated January 23, 2024, Senator Kerr advised, “I know that farmers and ranchers, who are multi-generational land stewards of Arizona’s resources, are all in on collaborative solutions to aquifer management that require their participation.” She continued, “Although the work is harder when water users are fairly represented at the table, I have dedicated the last several months to hearing from agricultural, municipal, industrial, and commercial voices from across the state. I believe wholeheartedly in this proposal, which is a product formed by rural Arizonans sharing the common goal of preserving their local economies and the health of groundwater basins for generations to come.”
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