AXIOS: Arizona restricts new Phoenix housing over groundwater shortage; Rose Law Group water lawyer and chair of water law department, David Johnson reacts

By Jeremy Duda | Axios

Arizona has paused approval for new housing subdivisions in the Phoenix area that would have relied on groundwater alone, a move that’s likely to limit expansion in fast-growing parts of the west and southeast Valley.

State of play: Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) announced the policy Thursday in response to a new report from the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) showing the Phoenix area faces a projected 4% shortfall in groundwater demand, or nearly 4.9 million acre-feet, over the next century.

Of note: An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, which is enough for two to three houses per year.

The big picture: Fueled by climate change, Arizona and the rest of the Colorado River basin are in the throes of a 23-year megadrought that ranks as the worst the region’s seen in 1,200 years.


Rose Law Group water lawyer and chair of water law department, David Johnson: “The spin around this is overblown. The 5th largest city in the U.S, is not shutting down development. There are years of supply of residential lots right now that can be built and this has no affect on that. The properties that are affected will come to the table with the state and work on a solution that allows for smart water policy to continue. We are working on this now.”

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