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New Clean Water Program Signed Into Arizona Law

Arizona Department of Water Resources

Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation this week to establish new clean water rules, following a rollback of federal protections for ephemeral waterways last year. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

The Surface Water Protection Program creates a list of nearly eight hundred rivers, streams and lakes that are protected from harmful pollutants under a new statewide permitting system. It’s the state’s first water-quality bill signed into law since the early nineties. It follows the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2020 decision to remove federal protections for waterways that don’t flow year-round. Supporters of the new program say clean water regulation should fall to the state and not the federal government. But some conservation groups say the bill isn’t strong enough and needs to incorporate more scientific data and public review. The Arizona Department of Water Quality is working on a draft list of protected waters.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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