Audubon’s 2024 Water Priorities at the Arizona Capitol

Audubon and partners advocate for smart water policies to protect Arizona's water.

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On February 1, Audubon hosted our 8th annual Western Rivers Day at the Arizona Capitol. We host this event every year to connect constituents with lawmakers and elevate the importance of the rivers, lakes, and streams that birds and people rely on.  Joined by local Audubon chapters, brewers, hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts, we advocated for healthy water supplies—for birds, wildlife, and people. We discussed our priorities for improving Arizona’s water security and protecting groundwater with Arizona legislators.  

Water is a forefront issue here in Arizona, and this year is no exception. Audubon Southwest’s top water priorities for Arizona’s 2024 legislative session, which began January 8, include: 

  1. Pass meaningful rural groundwater management. Several bills pertaining to rural groundwater management have been introduced, including House Bill (H.B.) 2857, which contains the recommendations put forward by the Governor’s Water Policy Council. This bill requires conservation and allows locals to develop a groundwater management goal and plan, with support from the Arizona Department of Water Resources. It represents years of hard work and input from rural Arizonans who want a more flexible tool to manage their groundwater.  

  2. Support the Arizona Department of Water Resources and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. This means appropriately funding these state agencies so they can carry out their obligations to Arizona’s residents to manage, conserve, and protect water supplies like rivers and groundwater.  

  3. Protect existing water management tools. More than 40 years ago, Arizona passed the landmark 1980 Groundwater Management Act. This law gives residents, businesses, and farms in Active Management Areas (AMAs) tools to achieve groundwater sustainability and to provide consumer protections. We must protect these smart water policies. 

Advancing these priorities will allow Arizona’s rivers, communities, farms, businesses, wildlife, habitat, and birds to thrive today and for generations to come. Join us by signing up for the Western Rivers Action Network to stay up to date on Arizona water issues and receive calls to action. You can use your voice today to protect groundwater resources in Arizona.