Arizona officials may not be able to approve new construction in some of the fastest-growing parts of the Phoenix metro area, which rely on groundwater in response to dwindling supplies. The Associated Press reported.
The Associated Press reports The Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs made the announcement this Thursday in response A new report by the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). The new report outlined how Arizona’s groundwater supply will continue to decline without further action. Nearly 4.9 million acre-feet of groundwater could not be met in the Phoenix area in the next 100 years. That’s a significant amount, given that a single acre of water is enough to water about two US homes per year. after to ADWR.
Approximately 80,000 vacant homes in locations that have a “Certificate of Safe Water Supply,” used by the state water agency to regulate water, will not be paused. These sites have proven they can provide water far into the future. “This pause will not impact growth in any of our major cities, where robust water portfolios have a proven track record of meeting current and future needs,” Hobbs said this week AZFamily.
However, developers in planned subdivisions that have not yet received a certificate cannot rely on groundwater as a water source to obtain a certificate, namely AZFamily reported. Construction may still occur in the affected areas if developers find alternative water sources such as surface water or recycled water, the Associated Press reported. The officials wanted to emphasize that these building freeze measures are necessary but not an emergency. “We are not running out of water, and we will not be running out of water because, as we have many times before, we will address the water challenges we face with integrity and transparency.” Governor Hobbs tweeted on Thursday.
Officer are looking at groundwater in Phoenix because it’s a finite resource and could take thousands of years to replenish in underground aquifers, according to the New York Times reported. Developers in the state have historically relied on groundwater access for construction projects because it was cheaper and easier for them to access, ADWR chief attorney Nicole Klobas told the Associated Press.
The drought situation in the Southwest, including Arizona, has improved significantly compared to how dry the area was this time last year. Currently, most of Arizona is not experiencing any drought at all. after to the US Drought Monitor. Last May, the state looked up moderately extreme drought Conditions. But depletion of groundwater in the state is setting in quickly after years of overexploitation growing metropolitan area and several years of drought.
Arizona has other water sources, but even those are overburdened. The Colorado River, the provides water to Arizona and other surrounding states is still plagued by drought Even if the conditions are not as dry as last year. Last month, officials in Arizona, California and Nevada proposed a plan to significantly reduce the river’s water use by the end of 2026, CBS News reports reported. Arizona was the state that relinquished most of its water supply from the Colorado River. Also this week, Governor Hobbs announced a $40 million investment to further support the state in water protection.
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