We need to step up our state’s response to long-term water needs. The current drought has gripped the region for over 16 years. Our state is predicted to have a water imbalance within the next 25 to 50 years. District 1 includes waters of the Colorado River system, which is projected to experience shortages soon—within 10 years. Even if the current drought dissipates, projected population growth in the Colorado River Basin and Arizona will have a profound impact on the water within the Colorado River Basin. Tom would bring to Congress a working knowledge of water issues throughout the Western United States.
Arizona, especially rural areas of the state, needs to be represented in Congress for all water planning efforts. Often, people today talk about water resources in terms of population use, which hurts rural Arizona because of its lower population. Tom would bring a clear voice in Congress for rural Arizona. He would reframe the conversation to focus on resource size and location, not just consideration of population use. This not only would benefit rural Arizona, but also makes sense from a resource management perspective.
Tom is a leader on water policy issues:
- Chair, Natural Resources Committee, Arizona House of Representatives
- Introduced legislation that, in 2013, the Arizona Republic described as some of the most important water legislation in Arizona history. The following groundbreaking plans were established in 2005 via H.B. 2277:
- Arizona’s first Drought Management Plan
- Arizona’s first statewide Water Conservation Plan
- Arizona’s first statewide Comprehensive Water Plan
- Introduced Arizona’s first statewide, satellite-based groundwater monitoring system. This was funded as part of the 2006 budget.
- Introduced and passed H.B. 2643, which concerned the Lower Colorado River Multi- Species Conservation Program. This program works to protect habitat, to get endangered species delisted and to prevent additional species from being listed as threatened or endangered. The program allows lower basin states (such as Arizona) to work cooperatively to minimize water impacts and legal issues of endangered species on the lower Colorado River.
- Former Member, Western States Water Council (Advises Western Governors Association on water policy)
- Former Chairperson, Council of State Government-West’s (15 Western States) Water and Environment Committee
- Former Member, Arizona Statewide Water Advisory Group; appointed by then- Governor Janet Napolitano
- Former Member, Arizona Groundwater Management Task Force; appointed by then- Governor Napolitano