Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs says she has made groundwater a top priority in part because the states’ water security plays a fundamental role in our future economic development and continued growth.

“The strength of our current protections are what brings people to invest in our statefamilies and businesses alike,” Gov. Hobbs told me. “We have to expand and take action on those protections to ensure that rural folkswho don’t have the same protections as urban areashave that.”

I sat down with the governor here in Tucson as part of our streaming-only online special Running Dry: Arizona’s Groundwater Crisis. Watch our KGUN 9 team coverage on Arizona groundwater on-demand:

Running Dry: Arizona’s Groundwater CrisisRead my conversation with Gov. Hobbs below:

Pat Parris: “What do you do to ensure that we have water for 100 years, as your plans usually point out?”

Gov. Katie Hobbs: “I think it’s important that we don’t stick our head in the sand, and acknowledge that this is a moment that we need to act and if we don’t take action we’ll be at a point of crisis. So, we’re taking action.

“I established the Water Policy Council with a broad group of stakeholders from all different sectors and parties, so that we came up with a slate of recommendations that could get bipartisan support and move through the legislature.

“The groundwater laws in our rural communities, I think, are the most critical. The Groundwater Management Act, when it was passed in 1980, was critical but it doesn’t go far enough. These communities have been clamoring for this flexibility to have a say over their groundwater for years. It’s time to take action on that.”

Pat Parris: “How do you then rally that support bipartisan-wise? In some ways it looks like it might be a difficult sell to some.”

Gov. Hobbs: “Absolutely. I mean, that’s why is was critical that we had bipartisan makeup of our Water Policy Council, including some of those legislators who have been barriers in the past. But these are not partisan issues, and republicans have introduced legislation that does this in the past. So, I’m hopeful that we can get enough groundswell of support to get it through this year.”

Pat Parris: “Some people point to California having this 25-year policy of making sure you have water, but Arizona has 100. I know you’re solidly behind the 100. Why do you see it that way?”

Gov. Hobbs: “We’re not going to follow California’s lead on this. Our assured water supply program of 100 years is what gives people the confidence to invest, make these big billion dollar investments come to our state, because they know that our water future is secure far down the road. It’s really the gold standard in these programs across the country and we need to continue that.”

Pat Parris: “Thank you so much. I appreciate the time.”

Gov. Hobbs: “Thank you.”