Local officials downplay water concerns

Buckeye Mayor Eric Orsborn and a spokesperson for Queen Creek emphasized that water was available for existing customers.

Taylor Seely and Alexandra Handle

Arizona Republic 

City officials in fast-growing Queen Creek and Buckeye downplayed concerns about water needed for future growth after news broke that the state’s water agency would stop approving new home developments that rely solely on groundwater.

That’s a showstopper announcement, especially for such cities on the outer edges of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Home construction is a booming part of their local economies and critical to housing a surging population, in some of the fastest-growing communities in the nation.

Buckeye and Queen Creek lean heavily on new development for their economic health but also rely heavily on groundwater.

On Thursday, Gov. Katie Hobbs’ announcement that groundwater supplies are short of what’s necessary to serve existing commitments for the next 100 years made national headlines, raising worries about the viability of the region. Zillow, the national housing technology company, issued a formal statement.

The news could deepen the state’s housing shortage and affordability problems. It could deter, rightly or wrongly, prospective out-of-state employers from coming to the Valley if they believe the area is unsustainable or that enough housing won’t be available to accommodate their workforce.


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June 2023