Editorial: Meeting our future water, power, and infrastructure needs

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Navajo Tribal Authority

Column By Rep. David Cook (R, LD-8)

Rep. David Cook

Over the last five years, Arizona has been capitalizing on a lot of “ups”: fix up, patch up, and catch up, and we have made some significant work to build out our infrastructure systems. 

The future of the largest growth areas is within Pinal County. However, there’s much to do as it relates to bringing water to the county to enable that growth, as groundwater will not be sufficient on its own to meet those needs. Policymakers would be wise to look to investments in infrastructure as a way to solve this challenge; specifically, the infrastructure required to build a system to bring other sources of water to the area. It can be done with the right local, state, and federal leaders working to make those long-term investments within the West and with Mexico. 

When it comes to powering the future growth of the region, it will be incumbent on electric utilities to work proactively and collaboratively with stakeholders to meet the needs of future residents and businesses. Our 21st-century lives require 24/7 power and a reliable, affordable energy supply will allow for continued economic expansion within Pinal County and elsewhere in the state. Given the recent reliability challenges in Texas, ensuring a low-cost, stable energy supply should be top of mind given the key role it plays in bringing new businesses to Arizona. 

As new growth occurs, it can be difficult for infrastructure to keep pace. Thoughtful planning for new growth and subsequent construction must be part of the long-term discussion. San Tan Valley is a prime example of the disconnect that can occur between significant growth and a planning process that keeps pace, and I’m proud to say that today, we have accelerated projects to meet the existing road infrastructure needs in that area. Together, we are focused on the transportation needs of the future so as not to fall behind. 

By continuing to work together and with the right policy support in place, Arizona will continue to be a leader in attracting new residents and new businesses, both nationally and internationally. We just need to ensure that when they arrive, they have the necessary water, power, and roads needed to live and work in our beautiful state. 

David Cook is a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives serving Legislative District 8, which includes areas of Pinal and Gila Counties.