Grady Gammage, Jr., is an Arizona native and lawyer who served on the CAWCD Board from 1992-2005. He served as President from, 1995-1997, leading the board during the repayment lawsuit against the federal government, which was settled in 2004.
Grady Gammage, Jr.: Leading negotiations with the Federal Government
(The story below is built around a recorded interview)
When lawyer Grady Gammage, Jr. was first elected to the CAP Board of Directors, he was an expert on real estate and urban development, but was pretty new to Arizona water.
“I got recruited to run for the CAP Board by the City of Phoenix for two reasons: one was they thought there needed to be somebody on there that knew more about urban development kinds of things, and two was I had the same name as the “big pink building” so I could probably get elected, “said Gammage. “So that’s how I got on the CAP Board.”
And from his election to the Board in 1992 until he left in 2005, he not only learned about Arizona water, but became an expert. He was elected Board President and lead negotiations with the Federal Government over the amount CAP was obligated to repay for construction costs, the accomplishment of which he is most proud.
But it was only one of his many accomplishments in his years working in water, and proudly calling himself a water buffalo. Gammage knows not only the importance of water, but what a complicated topic it is.
“From the earliest civilization in Central Arizona, it’s been complicated to deal with water. It continues to be sort of the most broadly held social consensus we have is, we need more water than we have, we’ll use all we can get and we’re going to keep it away from the enemy,” said Gammage. It’s a tribal commodity. We define our tribe as the people with whom we share our water and that means the people of Arizona in this case. There is some inter-tribe squabbling of course. But Arizona is our tribe and that’s who we share water with.”