State law places limits on use of water in Arizona, which is important to the state’s future. At times, however, the complexity of individual situations causes problems. However, some good work by elected officials and water leaders has resulted in a helpful bill already passed by the Legislature this year and signed by the governor.
Senate Bill 1274, referred to as the “Plat Revision Legislation,” allows holders of assured water supply certificates to have more flexibility in reconfiguring parcels and types of uses as long as the overall amount of water is not increased.
Developers received certificates in past years that now need some updating, and that has been a problem for the development of Pinal County as the demand for housing and other construction continues to rise. The bill is a helpful step. Some of the challenges relate to changes that occurred after a boom in the early 2000s and an economic bust that followed it. The demand for new housing in Pinal County along with industrial and retail growth is obvious.
The legislation is the first big success for the Pinal Stakeholders Group, chaired by Steve Miller, who also is the chairman of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors. The two vice chairs are veteran water providers: retired Arizona Water Company President Bill Garfield and Global Water Director of Water Resources Jake Lenderking. SB1274 was sponsored by Sen. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, and had strong support from Rep. Frank Pratt, R-Casa Grande, and other area legislators.
Water planning always has been crucial to life and growth in Arizona. Today is no different. More challenges remain for the Stakeholders Group, but the expertise and dedication of those involved is what is needed. Answers to problems and challenges related to this issue do not come easily. For now, though, passage of SB1274 is a win to celebrate.
— Donovan Kramer Jr.