Water and Energy. What can be more important in Arizona? We rely on both every day. That is why I am passionate about these issues and why I requested and was assigned to serve on the Senate Water & Energy Committee where I work to help ensure that Arizona continues to have enough of both.
Does Arizona have enough water?
The answer is yes, at least for now.
Unlike California, which has imposed mandatory water restrictions, Arizona has done a much better job of planning for long term drought. Here in Arizona , thanks to long-term planning and innovative water management, the state is prepared to handle the effects of the current drought. In fact, Arizona has been planning for a potential shortage for decades and has stored excess water underground since 1996.
If the drought continues and Lake Mead falls below an elevation of 1075?, which may happen as early as 2016, then cut backs from the Colorado River to farmers in central Arizona will occur and water rates will increase, but water to city residents will not be reduced.
Will the EPA’s new proposed carbon rule affect utility customers in Arizona?
The answer is definitely yes.
Sometime this summer, the EPA is expected to decide if they will implement the new rule. According to the Arizona Corporation Commission, the EPA’s plan will require all Arizona coal plants to shut down by 2020, adversely impacting the reliability of electric service and jeopardizing national security. Currently, coal produces 80% of Tucson Electric’s power, 53% of SRP’s power, and 40% of APS’s power. Solar can not make up the difference and converting to natural gas in that short of a time period may not be possible and will cost huge amounts of money. This rule, if implemented by the federal government will dramatically increase our utility rates and negatively impact the economy of our state. That is why I have been an outspoken critic of the rule and support Arizona’s intent to join other states in suing the federal government if the rule is implemented.
For more information, please contact me at DLesko@azleg.gov or 602-926-5413.