Arizona says developers lack groundwater for big growth dreams in the desert west of Phoenix; Jordan Rose, founder and president of Rose Law Group, highlights solutions

Low water level strip on cliff at Lake Mead. View from Hoover Dam at Nevada and Arizona border, USA

By Brandon Loomis | Arizona Republic

A newly released state report on groundwater supplies under the desert west of Phoenix signals difficulty ahead for developers wishing to build hundreds of thousands of homes there.

It also signals the start of an effort by Arizona’s new governor to shore up groundwater management statewide.

Gov. Katie Hobbs released the modeling report Monday afternoon, and it shows that plans to add homes for more than 800,000 people west of the White Tank Mountains will require other water sources if they are to go forward.

The Arizona Department of Water Resources had developed the model showing inadequate water for much of the development envisioned as far-west suburbs, but had not released it during then-Gov. Doug Ducey’s term. Hobbs mentioned it during her State of the State address, along with other initiatives, including a new council dedicated to updating the state’s 1980 groundwater protection act for a new era of scarcity.

Hobbs also announced a new Governor’s Office of Resiliency, coordinating agencies, tribal governments and experts in finding land, water and energy solutions for the state.


“Some years ago, a similar water report caused Pinal County landowners to come together to work on solutions with ADWR, outside consulting engineers, and the State Legislature.  This has allowed some Pinal landowners to move forward with their development plans. This same sort of effort will now need to be organized with West Valley landowners to review all possible solutions and decide what is best.  Certainly bringing the new water supply from the future desal will be the ultimate solution.”

Jordan Rose, founder and president of Rose Law Group

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January 2023