Monday, April 20, 2020: The March 11, 2020 Order of Adoption for the Phoenix AMA Fourth Management Plan is now effective for purposes of judicial review. The conservation requirements in that plan will go into effect on January 1, 2023.
The Agricultural Water Conservation Best Management Practices (BMP) Advisory Committee was initially established by executive order in 2002 and was continued in November by Governor Doug Ducey's Executive Order 2020-55. The Committee is charged with advising ADWR’s Director regarding the statutorily authorized Agricultural BMP Program and will provide vital input to the Director on the BMP Program as the fifth management plans and future management plans are finalized and promulgated. ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke and Pinal AMA farmer Scott Riggins are the co-chairs of this committee.
This meeting will cover the purpose and scope of the Agricultural Water Conservation BMP Advisory Committee, the history of the Agricultural BMP Conservation Program, and next steps for the committee.
At several recent public meetings, ADWR has received input regarding the path forward for the Phoenix, Pinal, and Santa Cruz AMAs Fourth Management Plans. Two options were presented during these meetings: one to allow additional time for stakeholder feedback while moving forward with incremental adjustments to the conservation programs in these plans and another to maintain the status quo and adopt conservation programs substantially similar to those in the Third Management Plans. ADWR received comments supporting both options.
As Governor Ducey has stated, Arizona is transitioning into a drier future; the time to begin additional conservation is now. Maintaining the status quo would be a missed opportunity to expand on the conservation framework in the Third Management Plans and would do a disservice to the incremental design of the management plans in the Groundwater Management Act.
ADWR will proceed with incremental adjustments to these remaining Fourth Management Plans. The Department has been working with various stakeholders on refinements to the program outlines that were published in July and is incorporating those changes into the draft Phoenix AMA 4th Management Plan. Additionally, ADWR will hold a Phoenix AMA Fourth Management Plan Stakeholder Meeting at 2 pm on October 16, which will serve as a public forum for questions or further stakeholder input on the draft Phoenix AMA 4th Management Plan.
The Director expresses his appreciation to all those who took time to provide input. That input was weighed carefully as he made a decision on this matter. ADWR believes this path forward balances the need for time and stakeholder input with the need to move forward and make conservation progress under these plans.