Arizona Chamber Foundation Policy Brief Outlines Drought Agreements and Steps for Adoption

Phoenix (January 10) – Arizona must sign the Drought Contingency Plan. That’s according to an Arizona Chamber Foundation recommendation in its newest policy brief out today.

Time is short for Arizona to complete its part of a seven-state Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) as Colorado River water levels continue to decline.

The Foundation’s brief, titled The Colorado River: The Seven-State Drought Contingency Plan and Pathway to Adoption, summarizes the agreements within the DCP and outlines the various layers of approval required to activate the plan.

Our one recommendation: Arizona must sign the Drought Contingency Plan.

“Arizona water users have been working since June to develop a plan to manage the establishment of Arizona’s water reductions,” Foundation Policy Advisor Courtney McKinstry said. “This policy brief boils down pages of complicated water legalese to the bottom line. We hope it serves as a resource to the public and legislators as Arizona works to find agreement.”

United States Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman made it clear to Arizona water users that the federal government would step in to dictate the state’s water reductions should an agreement not be reached before Jan. 31.

This policy brief is a follow-up to our October 2018 paper, The Colorado River and Arizona’s Role in Preserving it for Generations to Come. That paper covered the governance, history and increasingly arid conditions leading up to the Drought Contingency Plan for the seven Western States that rely on Colorado River water.

Arizona law requires the Arizona Department of Resources director to receive approval from the Legislature before signing any agreement involving the state’s sovereign rights to water. This includes the DCP.

“While the changing state of Colorado River flows are unfortunate, controlling Arizona’s response to these conditions in collaboration with our Western State neighbors ultimately makes more sense for our growing state than leaving it in the hands of the courts or federal agencies,” the brief concludes.

“Without the DCP, our claims to Colorado River water during times of shortage could be caught up in the courts for decades or managed from Washington D.C. Such uncertainty could be a drag on Arizona’s historic economic resurgence,” according to the policy brief.

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About the Arizona Chamber Foundation
The Arizona Chamber Foundation is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to expanding economic opportunity in Arizona through research and initiatives that focus on the core drivers of prosperity. We are committed to a non-partisan, research-driven approach that analyzes the issues impacting Arizona’s economy. It houses the A for Arizona and Chamber Business News initiatives and Arizona Industry Fellows project. Find out more at