PHOENIX (December 20, 2019)–Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer today announced a commitment from Intel, Microsoft and the Water Funder Initiative to support the Arizona Drought Contingency plan and shore up water levels in Lake Mead. Today, the first of several agreements was signed between the Arizona Department of Water Resources and Business for Water Stewardship to transfer $350,000 to ADWR to compensate the Colorado River Indian Tribe (CRIT) for reducing water use through the Drought Contingency Planning (DCP) process.
Additional funding transfers from corporations and the Water Funder Initiative are planned for 2020, raising the total in this latest commitment for system conservation in Arizona to more than $750,000. These agreements build on prior commitments of $2 million.
The agreement represents the first private sector funds committed to bolstering Arizona’s DCP commitment and long-term water security by shoring up declining water levels in Lake Mead.
“We’re excited Microsoft and Intel continue to drive economic growth in Arizona, and we appreciate their work to help conserve more water,” Governor Doug Ducey said. “Companies like Microsoft and Intel will continue to play a leading role in helping Arizona implement the Drought Contingency Plan and secure Arizona’s water future.”
CRIT previously agreed to allocate up to 150,000 acre-feet of water to shore up the declining water levels in Lake Mead in order to support Arizona’s DCP process and system conservation efforts. The new funding helps Arizona compensate CRIT for making this commitment and sets Arizona on a path for additional future collaboration. Under the terms of the agreement, the private funds will be transferred to the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), which will subsequently allocate them to CRIT.
“The Arizona Chamber applauds Microsoft, Intel, the Governor’s Office and the Arizona Department of Water Resources for their commitment to ensuring that Arizona is positioned to thrive well into the future,” Hamer said. “As demonstrated by this agreement, Arizona private sector job creators are engaged partners in responsibly managing Arizona’s most precious natural resource.”
“The future of water conservation is philanthropic and corporate interests working together for both people and the environment,” said Ted Kowalski, Senior Program Officer for the Colorado River Initiative at the Walton Family Foundation. “This additional commitment from Microsoft and Intel, which builds on the $2 million previously committed to support system conservation in Arizona, sets a new gold standard for corporate water stewardship. We applaud Microsoft and Intel for their leadership and commend them on sending a message that good conservation is good for the bottom line.”
“We’re thrilled to be a part of this moment in Arizona where philanthropic and corporate interests are aligned to improve the way water is managed for people and nature,” said Susan Bell, Managing Director of the Water Funder Initiative. “By joining us in supporting this work, Intel and Microsoft are demonstrating the kind of corporate water stewardship it will take to move us toward a sustainable water future, both in Arizona and across the West.”
“The business community can be a key partner in helping Arizona plan for a sustainable future,” said Tom Buschatzke, Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources. “The DCP process required all of us to work together in our shared interest; We need to keep that commitment to collaboration alive as we continue to implement the Plan.”
“Agricultural producers face real challenges in Arizona, and our farmers are leading sustainability efforts and implementing water-saving technology to efficiently irrigate crops,” said Arizona House Speaker, Russell Bowers. “I’m thankful for the commitment and help of the Colorado River Indian Tribe, and I’m grateful that the business community wants to be part of the solution to help secure sustainable water supplies for all.”
“If the DCP process taught us anything, it’s that the business and philanthropic communities need to be active partners in conservation,” said Todd Reeve, Director of Business for Water Stewardship, a member of the Water for Arizona Coalition. “Diverse stakeholders across sectors are already coming together to help support water sustainability in Arizona. Investing and safeguarding Arizona’s water supplies is critical to supporting our communities and economies.”
“Under Governor Ducey’s leadership, Arizona continues to be a global leader in water resource management,” said Sandra Watson, Arizona Commerce Authority President & CEO. “Forward-thinking initiatives like the Drought Contingency Plan will ensure our state remains able to meet the water needs of our growing population well into the future, and we’re very grateful to Microsoft and Intel for stepping up and providing this incredible support.”
# # #