Arizona farmers see booming tech industry as competition for water

Farmers in Pinal County were among the hardest hit. In January, they started receiving about a third of the water supply that’s normally available to them.

By Grisselda Zetino | KTAR

 Arizona farmers struggling to grow crops because of drought conditions now have another challenge — tech companies that also rely on large amounts of water are expanding throughout the state.

“Big semiconductor plants, cloud servers, databases, warehouses — all of this coming in, it does create competition against agriculture,” said Chelsea McGuire, director of government relations for the Arizona Farm Bureau.

McGuire said the competition for water comes at a time when farmers are getting less water from the Central Arizona Project and other sources.

Historically low water levels from the Colorado River triggered the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to announce last August that it would be reducing water allocations for some users who receive water through the CAP.

Experts say Arizona is entering an era of limits when it comes to state’s water future

Farmers in Pinal County were among the hardest hit. In January, they started receiving about a third of the water supply that’s normally available to them.

“It’s kind of a literal drop in the bucket, but anything is going to help,” McGuire said, referring to the amount of water farmers are now getting through the CAP canals.

Water cutbacks have forced farmers to diversify or reduce the amount of crops they’re able to grow.

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