Arizona officials announced Thursday that the state will restrict future housing development in the Phoenix area due to dwindling groundwater supplies, signaling a potential sea change for an area that has been a hotspot of population growth for years but is facing increasing impacts from the effects of climate change.
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) revealed at a news conference Thursday that a study of groundwater conditions for the Phoenix metropolitan area showed the area would face unmet demand for groundwater resources.
Arizona will allow approved developments to continue, but future communities or developers who have not yet received approval will be required to select alternative water sources for new developments, proving to the state that they can provide a guaranteed 100-year water supply from source other than groundwater, according to the state’s Department of Water Resources. Arizona.
Hobbes emphasized in A Twitter topic Thursday, this step does not mean that there is a threat to the water supply for the existing population, as the country will deal with the upcoming water challenges on Twitter with “fairness and transparency.”
The state water department has attributed groundwater limitations to a combination of groundwater withdrawal, when more water is pumped out of the aquifer than it is recharged, and “continued reliance on groundwater resources.”
Phoenix is located in Maricopa County, which was home to more than 60% of Arizona’s population in 2020 and relies on groundwater for most of its water supply. The second largest source of water in the county is surface water, followed by reclaimed water. Last year, Maricopa led the United States in population growth as more than 56,000 residents moved to the county. Arizona has dealt with declining water levels for years, with some rural areas facing the consequences of drought and overuse of aquifers. The drought that has historically plagued the Southwest since last year was considered the driest 22-year period in the past 1,200 years as of last year, according to the science journal Nature Climate Change. Arizona shares drought issues with California and Nevada, making up a group of states that have experienced dwindling water resources and have implemented measures to meet the challenge. The three southwestern states recently agreed to a deal to provide an additional 3 million acres of water from the Colorado River, which serves 40 million people across multiple states. Phoenix was the fastest growing city in the United States from 2010 to 2020, when it recorded a growth rate of 11.2%.
More than 5 million. This is the number experienced by residents of the Phoenix metropolitan area between 2021 and 2022, according to census data.
Arizona announces building restrictions in the Phoenix area as groundwater disappears (CNN)
Arizona Limits Construction Around Phoenix as Water Supply Dwindles (The New York Times)