Up to $9 million in funding has been approved by the Arizona legislature to fund the construction of new water wells throughout the state.
Those wells would be specifically available to the state’s agricultural irrigation districts and could also be used to build the infrastructure needed for transporting groundwater to farms.
Arizona has 65 such districts, mostly located in the southern half of the state. Those districts were established with a mandate of providing irrigation water for agricultural uses by building and operating irrigation systems.
The legislation originally called for appropriating $5 million for the irrigation districts, but lawmakers upped that figure to $9 million, while also setting aside an additional $10 million for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District.
The bill stipulates that all irrigation district construction and rehabilitation projects must be completed by the end of 2022.
A separate bill introduced by Representative David Cook is calling for a much larger $20 million in funding for the drilling of new water wells.
That measure has now been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, although its fate in the larger Senate appears uncertain.
By Garry Boulard
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