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Metro Phoenix cities don’t have equal access to water. See how your city stacks up.

Posted by   /  February 12, 2020  /  No Comments

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The Central Arizona Project aqueduct system, shown meandering west of Phoenix, diverts Colorado River water to cities, farms and tribes in Central and Southern Arizona. /Ross D. Franklin / The Associated Press 2010

By Joshua Bowling | Arizona Republic

Where water flows, development follows.

The Hohokam long ago carved canals through the Phoenix area to bring water from the Salt and Gila rivers closer. Settlers in the late 1800s would mimic those growth patterns.

Arizonans nearly 30 years ago decided to flip that rule on its head and make water follow growth.

The state Legislature approved the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District, which allowed homes to go up in the Phoenix area’s farthest reaches by using groundwater to support development up front and replacing it underground with Colorado River water.

New homes sprouted in dry places far from canals in remote corners of the Valley. And people lined up to buy in the more affordable outskirts.

The change in water policy shifted the Valley’s growth patterns.


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