Protect Arizona's Water Future
Educate and engage the public on pressing water needs
About My Campaign
The Ben Graff for CAWCD team is focused on a full Maricopa County-wide campaign aimed at educating the public on the Arizona's water issues and the challenges we will face. Maricopa County is unique, diverse, and enormous. Did you know running a Maricopa County-wide election is the same as running for Governor in Oregon? This is a non-partisan race decided on November 8, however, early ballots will start arriving in mailboxes as early as October 12, 2022. I am an Arizona native, land-use attorney, a husband, and the father of two young girls who must be able to live in a future Arizona with a safe, secure, and affordable water supply. My central theme is to "Protect Arizona's Water Future." My platform includes:
(1) Water Consciousness and Conservation: We need more elected leaders traveling the County and state educating the public on Arizona's water issues and what we must do to avoid cuts and losing our state's water rights. Arizona needs leaders who will support and continue the work of the CAP/CAWCD Board campaign to "Protect Lake Mead!" through innovative conservation efforts which start with the every day decisions of our citizens. Once elected to this six-year term and in coordination with Board Leadership, I plan to have ongoing meetings with the public and interest groups to spread water education and prepare Arizona for some of the tough, upcoming decisions on conservation efforts aimed at avoiding water cuts.
(2) Water As An Economic Driver: In Arizona, and in most states nationwide, water is our most precious resource and the most important economic driver. Our state's agriculture, municipalities, manufacturing/industrial uses, and businesses all rely upon a safe, secured, and reliable water supply and companies seeking to relocate to Arizona must be guaranteed a permanent water supply. For example, Intel, which needs ongoing high-quality water to clean its microchips, would not have located in Chandler, Arizona if our water supplies were in question. On the other hand, when was the last time a company in need of a safe water supply looked to relocate in Michigan after the Flint incident? A single water crisis in Arizona could negatively impact economic growth for decades to come. I will work on creative and innovative solutions to promote strong economic growth assured by Arizona's stable water supply.
(3) Crucial Negotiations with California, Nevada, and the Upper Basin States: Given the current issues which can only be resolved through consensus among the Upper and Lower Basin states, one of the most important things the Board does is represent Arizona, and Arizona's Colorado River water allocation, on a national front. The Board, in coordination with the Arizona Department of Water Resources ("ADWR"), is the prominent voice protecting Arizona's water and assuring that Arizona does not take disproportionate cuts to our water supply. For example, in recent months, our Board authorized a compromise which was presented to the federal government along with our counterparts in Nevada, to cut approximately 2 million acre feet from the system, to respond to the current drought crisis. During this round of negotiations, we were not able to bring California to the table on this proposal. But I am confident we will find the means to come to a compromise with California and Arizona. The Basin States have not yet produced a viable plan, nor has the United States proposed a plan that achieves the 2-4 million acre feet protection volumes identified by the Reclamation Commissioner. Discussions among the Basin States and the United States to meet this challenge have only led to a possible framework relying entirely on short-term, voluntary contributions for 2023. This falls short of the water volumes needed to protect the system. Moving forward, the Board will need to continue to play a key role in bringing Nevada, California, Mexico, and all of the Basin States to the table to find effective means of water conservation to protect the Colorado River systems.
(4) Energy: Securing Arizona's Water Future requires us to also engage in the complex discussion of the need for diverse sources of electrical generation. The Central Arizona Project canal system is Arizona's single largest user of electricity. With pumping stations literally dragging water uphill for over 336 miles and 3000 feet in elevation, an incredible amount of electricity is required to bring Colorado River water to our municipalities and ultimately to your tap. This energy was previously 100% dependent upon the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired plant which went out of operation during my first term on the Board. As an existing elected member of the Board, I had the opportunity over the past six years to work on a new diversified portfolio of energy, which included a Phase 1 renewable component. In my second term, I plan to work on bringing Phase II online and ensuring that the Central Arizona Project's prior dependence on fossil-fuel generated energy remains in the past.
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