This year’s WESTMARC Economic Development Summit was all about water in the west valley and we have videos of each session. Authorities from SRP, CAP, and AZ spoke on topics such as “How Arizona Manages its Water Resources Prudently For Growth” and “West Valley’s Water Infrastructure & the Requirements to Fuel Future Economic Growth”.
On May 3, 2023, WESTMARC held a HIGHLY informative economic development summit.
"learn from experts covering topics including, national water perspective, southwest basin states and Colorado River conditions, Arizona's long history of water planning, infrastructure, water technologies & future water, economic development and project evaluation and more!"
WESTMARC (the Western Maricopa Coalition) is a public-private partnership of 15 communities, the business community and the educational sector in the West Valley of the Phoenix metro. WESTMARC’s three key priorities are to: Promote the West Valley, Enhance Economic Development, and Increase Member Value.
From the get-go, water was front and center: issues, sources, and future.
- 8:45 AM – Opening Remarks
Sintra Hoffman, President & CEO – WESTMARC
Jon Howard, Partner – Quarles
Leslie Meyers, Chief Water Executive and Associate General Manager – SRP
- 9:05 AM – Keynote Speaker
Brenda Burman, General Manager, Central Arizona Project
- 9:35 AM – Water 101
Sarah Porter, Director, Kyl Center for Water Policy, Morrison Institute, ASU
- 9:50 AM – Panel 1: Arizona Manages its Water Resources Prudently For Growth
Sarah Porter, Director, Kyl Center for Water Policy, Morrison Institute, ASU
Michael Boule, Director, Water Resource Management – City of Surprise
Tom Buschatzke, Director, Arizona Department of Water Resources
Leslie Meyers, Associate General Manager & Chief Water Resources Executive – SRP
- 10:40 AM – Panel 2: West Valley’s Water Infrastructure & the Requirements to Fuel Future Economic Growth
Laura Grignano, Manager, CAGRD
Ron Klawitter, Manager, Water System Projects, SRP
Doug Dunham, Manager of Water Resources, EPCOR
- 11:30 AM – Award Presentation
- 12:05 PM – Fireside Chat
Chuck Podolak, Director, Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona
Mayor Eric Orsborn, City of Buckeye
Lisa Atkins, CAP Board Member
- 12:45 PM – Call to Action & Wrap Up
We have previously posted some of the subject matter via important news announcements, by assisting the West Valley Commercial Real Estate Group with a water education event, and on our page dedicated to Arizona water.
- Do We Have Sufficient Water to Support the Projected Huge Population Growth in the West Valley?
- Buckeye Mayor Confirms City Will Have Sufficient Water for its Growth
- Hobbs reveals West Valley current water supply cannot support planned development
- Stay up-to-date with the latest Arizona Water News, Resources, and History
The videos are comprehensive but here are two teaser tidbits:
In 2022, SRP snow melt inflow was 270,000 AF (Acre-Feet: 1 AF is 1 foot of water covering 1 Acre – 43,560 SF). For 2023, snow melt inflow is projected to be 1,800,000 AF, more than 6.5x that of 2022!
Both CAP and SRP stated they are actively exploring an interconnect to deliver SRP water into the CAP canal system. (A connection for CAP to SRP already exists)
Download the “Water Words For The Lay Person” Pamphlet
WESTMARC Economic Development Summit Speaker Bios
Central Arizona Project (CAP)
Brenda Burman has been Central Arizona Project’s General Manager since early January 2023. She originally joined CAP in 2021 as the Executive Strategy Advisor. Brenda has more than 25 years of experience working on Western water and natural resource issues where she has been committed to finding collaborative solutions to secure reliable water supplies for communities, farms, tribes, and the environment. Before joining CAP, Burman was the Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the first woman to hold that position. Burman has served in many other areas of the water community: in private legal practice, as the water and energy counsel for U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, as senior water advisor to an environmental organization, and in senior positions for water districts. Burman holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arizona College of Law.
Arizona Manages its Water Resources Prudently for Growth
Arizona has become one of the fastest growing states in the country. New business development has been fostered in partnership with local utility partners which has resulted in decades of job creation and business investments. Cities in the region, which account for 22% of annual water use, have unique water portfolios which means that each city is in a different position to address the Colorado River water shortage. Join us as we hear from industry professionals regarding statewide and local initiatives which have reduced water consumption across the state over the past several decades while achieving new growth and job creation.
Sarah Porter (Moderator)
Director, Kyl Center for Water Policy
Morrison Institute – ASU
Porter is also an attorney, having graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree and obtaining her juris doctor from Arizona State University (ranking third in her class). She clerked for federal appellate Judge William Canby and was a litigator for Brown & Bain; Coppersmith Gordon Schermer Owens & Nelson, PLC; and Osborn Maledon PA. She left her Law career in 2006 for Audubon because she wanted to contribute to a collaborative effort to address Arizona’s natural resource challenges. She will now dedicate that focus to the Kyl Center.
Michael Boule (Panelist)
Director, Water Resource Management
City of Surprise
Michael Boule has been with the City of Surprise for 15 years, serving currently as the Director Water Resources and the last two as Assistant Director of Water Resource Management. Boule started his career in the Water Services Department as an Infrastructure Analyst in 2008. He then joined the Public Works Department where he moved up the ranks from Project Manager to Assistant Director of Operations.
During his time in Surprise, he has been responsible for the management of capital improvement projects, numerous public-private partnerships, and significant water planning efforts. Michael prides himself in uniting colleagues, residents and the business community to accomplish city goals and objectives.
Tom Buschatzke (Panelist)
Arizona Department of Water Resources
Tom is responsible for management of the State’s water supplies, including multiple planning and policy, regulatory and permitting programs dedicated to that mission. Mr. Buschatzke serves as Arizona’s principal negotiator on matters relating to the Colorado River. He serves in a similar role for the State in Indian water-rights negotiations. He also is the Chairman of the Arizona Water Banking Authority and Co-Chair of the Governor’s Drought Interagency Coordinating Group. Mr. Buschatzke also chairs the Water Augmentation Council which is tasked with investigating long-term water augmentation strategies and other opportunities to secure water supplies for Arizona’s future. Mr. Buschatzke possesses over thirty years of experience in water management and has been a member of several statewide long-term water planning initiatives, including serving as Co-Chair of the Statewide Water Resources Development Commission, and the Governor’s Blue-Ribbon Panel on Water Sustainability, for which he served as Co-Chair of the Regulatory and Permitting Group.
Leslie Meyers (Panelist)
Chief Water Executive & Associate General Manager of Water Resources
Leslie joined SRP in 2022, with more than 30 years of water resources management experience in Arizona and the southwest. Throughout her career, Leslie has worked on strategic initiative planning and implementation with Federal, States, Tribes, irrigation districts, local governments, non-governmental organizations, and others. Leslie received a BS degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University and is a registered Professional Engineer.
West Valley’s Water Infrastructure and the Requirements to Fuel Future Economic Growth
Careful planning and investment have produced a reliable and well-managed water supply, but further investment is necessary to support future growth. Join us as we hear from professionals regarding short term solutions focused on water conservation measures and recovering underground water as well as long term solutions which will require a regional, multi-faceted and innovative approach to water management.
Laura Grignano (Moderator)
Manager, Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD)
Central Arizona Project
Laura Grignano is Central Arizona Project’s (CAP) Manager of the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District, commonly referred to as CAGRD, responsible for managing the operations of CAGRD including membership enrollment, rate setting, water supply acquisitions and satisfaction of member replenishment obligations. Ms. Grignano’s career in the Arizona water community spans more than twenty years, including positions with the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and Arizona Public Service (APS). She joined CAP in 2013. Grignano received her Bachelor’s degree at Clemson University and her Masters from the College of William and Mary.
Ron Klawitter (Panelist)
Manager, Water System Projects,
Ron’s team is responsible for managing projects to prepare SRP’s water system for the next century of service. His projects focus on ensuring the future resiliency of SRP’s water supply system by evaluating infrastructure and operational changes needed to meet the water and power needs of central Arizona under changing climate conditions. Ron served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation from 2018 to 2020 before returning to SRP. Ron has a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Mathematics from Northern Arizona University and a Master’s Degree in Applied Economics from the University of Arizona. Ron was born and raised in Arizona and grew up swimming in the canals and irrigation ponds of Arizona’s Verde Valley that are fed by the Verde River.
Doug Dunham (Panelist)
Manager, Water Resources
Mr. Dunham has over 35 years of experience in water resources, environmental, health and safety in both the private and public sectors including a Fortune 500 company and has led large studies exploring links between environmental exposure and childhood cancer. More recently, Mr. Dunham spent 20 years with the Arizona Department of Water Resources overseeing programs such as assured and adequate water supply, recharge and recovery, water rights and wells programs as Deputy Assistant Director for Water Management. He spent the last seven years of his tenure at ADWR advising the Director and the Governor’s Office on water policy as Special Assistant to the Director, Legislative Liaison and the Department Ombudsman. Currently, Mr. Dunham is the Water Resources Manager for ECPOR Water, the company’s water resources in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Where do we grow from here? The future of water from a West Valley city and historical perspective regarding sources, as well as responsible & sustainable practices for business attraction & economic development will be explored in-depth.
Chuck Podolak (Moderator)
Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona
Chuck Podolak leads an agency tasked with helping Arizona residents secure clean and reliable water supplies into the future. Prior to joining WIFA, Chuck was the Director of Rights and Contracts at SRP, leading a group focused on addressing water conflicts throughout the state. Chuck also served as Natural Resources Policy Advisor to two elected officials: Governor Doug Ducey and Senator Jeff Flake. In those and legislation roles at the state and federal levels he was responsible for policy relating to Arizona’s water, land, environmental quality, wildlife, agriculture, and energy issues. Dr. Podolak has a Bachelors degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a PhD in fluvial geomorphology (river sciences) from Johns Hopkins University. Originally from Colorado, Chuck first moved to Arizona in 1997 during the early part of his Air Force career flying F-16s and is proud to call Arizona home once again.
Lisa Atkins (Panelist)
Central Arizona Project (CAP)
Lisa Atkins first joined the Board through appointment by November Governor Jane Dee Hull in January 2003, to complete the term vacated by Bob Burns. She was elected to a regular term in 2006, and re-elected to the CAWCD Board of Directors in 2012 and 2018, to represent Maricopa County until December 31, 2024. Mrs. Atkins served three terms as the President of the Board, and served one term as Board Secretary and Chairman of the CAGRD and Underground Storage Committee.
Mrs. Atkins was appointed Commissioner of the Arizona State Land Department in June 2015. She has served on the Commission on the Arizona Environment, the 1999 Governor’s Transportation Vision 21 Task Force, the 2000 Governor’s Water Management Commission, the 2003 Governor’s Military Facilities Task Force, the Arizona Water Bank Authority CAWCD, chaired the 2012 and 2014 Commission on Salaries for Elected State Officers, and served for more than ten years as the Co-Chair of the Governor’s Military Affairs Commission. Mrs. Atkins was a member of the staff of U. S. Congressman Bob Stump for more than twenty-five years, serving as Chief of Staff from 1979 – 2002, the Executive Director of the County Supervisors Association (2003-2004), and the Vice President for Public Policy of Greater Phoenix Leadership (2004-2015).
Mrs. Atkins, a native Arizonan and graduate of the University of Arizona, resides in Phoenix.
Eric Orsborn (Panelist)
City of Buckeye
Eric Orsborn was elected Mayor in 2020 after serving on the Buckeye City Council as the District 6 representative from 2010 to 2020.
Mayor Orsborn holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in construction management from Arizona State University. Mayor Orsborn is the owner of OCM, a construction and maintenance company based in Buckeye, Arizona. He has previously been employed in construction, land development, and project management.
A graduate of the first Buckeye Leadership Academy, Mayor Orsborn is also a Blue Blazer and member of Fighter Country Partnership, a group that supports the men, women, and mission of Luke Air Force Base. He also serves on the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Regional Council and Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) boards.
Mayor Orsborn is a native of Arizona. He and his wife Tina have a daughter and son: Emma and Jack. Mayor Orsborn and his family have resided in the community of Verrado since 2004.
2023 WESTMARC Economic Development Summit Sponsors