Arizona: Governor Katie Hobbs Signs Bill to Extend Douglas AMA Water Right Deadline, Appoints Groundwater Users Advisory Council

Phoenix, AZ ~ Phoenix, AZ - In a continued effort to protect Arizona's water supplies and promote rural groundwater reforms, Governor Katie Hobbs signed House Bill 2016 today. The bill extends the deadline for water users in the newly created Douglas Active Management Area (AMA) to submit their grandfathered groundwater right applications to the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). Along with this, Governor Hobbs also announced her appointments to the Douglas AMA Groundwater Users Advisory Council.

Governor Hobbs has been dedicated to securing rural groundwater supplies since taking office. This includes her push for rural groundwater reform legislation (HB 2857), reducing fees in the Douglas AMA, and protecting water supplies in the Butler Valley groundwater basin.

"I have made it clear since day one of my term that I am committed to supporting rural communities in managing their groundwater," said Governor Hobbs. "This legislation will give Douglas AMA water users more time to submit their water right applications to ADWR, and I am confident that the local leaders who have volunteered to serve on the Groundwater Users Advisory Council will provide invaluable input as we develop water conservation programs for the basin."

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The following individuals have been appointed by Governor Hobbs to serve on the Douglas AMA Groundwater Users Advisory Council:

- Ron Bemis: With over 25 years of experience managing his family's third-generation ranch in Sulphur Springs Valley, Mr. Bemis brings extensive knowledge of natural resource management and conservation. He has also served on the Board of Supervisors for the Whitewater Draw Natural Resource Conservation District.

- Aaron Cardona: A third-generation farmer at Arevalos Farm in McNeal, AZ, Mr. Cardona has been farming organic grains and vegetables since 2013. He is also a founding member of the Sulphur Springs Valley Produce Cooperative and serves as an Advisory Board Member for the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.

- Joni Giacomino: Born and raised in Cochise County, Ms. Giacomino has been a science teacher for 38 years. She has personally experienced the effects of groundwater declines in the region and hopes to use her position on the Douglas GUAC to build consensus around groundwater conditions and management programs. Ms. Giacomino also serves as a member of the Bisbee City Council.

- Elise Moore: As the Public Works Director and City Engineer for the City of Douglas, Ms. Moore is responsible for managing all city utilities and providing engineering response to emergency repair projects. She also has extensive experience with flood control projects and water resource management from her time serving in various leadership roles in the Phoenix and Pinal AMAs.

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- Jackie Watkins: With a family history of farming and ranching in Southern Arizona dating back to the 1800s, Ms. Watkins is a sixth-generation farmer herself. She currently farms pecans, alfalfa hay, and raises sheep, cattle, and pigs with her husband. Ms. Watkins also serves as the Director of the Department of Engineering and Natural Resources for Cochise County, where she oversees groundwater recharge projects along the San Pedro River.

The 1980 Groundwater Management Code established a five-member, Governor-appointed Groundwater Users Advisory Council for each initial and subsequent Active Management Area (AMA). These councils provide advice and recommendations to ADWR on groundwater management programs and policies within their respective AMA.

For more information on the Douglas AMA, visit

Governor Hobbs' actions today demonstrate her ongoing commitment to protecting Arizona's water supplies and promoting responsible groundwater management in rural communities. With these appointments to the Douglas AMA Groundwater Users Advisory Council, local leaders will have a direct role in shaping water conservation programs for their region.

Filed Under: Government, State

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