By Christopher Kuzdas | Environmental Defense Fund
With dozens of water bills introduced in the Arizona Legislature this session, EDF Action and the Water for Arizona Coalition are focusing on long-overdue steps needed to ensure water security for all, especially rural communities that face high water risk.
Rural Arizona is the only substantial region left across the seven Colorado River Basin states where an “open access” approach to groundwater management is still the norm. This anything-goes approach puts people and ecosystems in rural Arizona at a disproportionate risk of water insecurity and economic instability.
The consequences of unchecked groundwater pumping
About 1.5 million people, many of whom depend almost entirely on groundwater, live in parts of Arizona where groundwater pumping is essentially unregulated. This means a new water user can pump groundwater even if that pumping dries up connected rivers or springs, lowers neighboring wells, or causes land to sink or other property damage.