Despite debate over Arizona’s future groundwater supply—Gov. Hobbs says “Assured Water Supply Program is working”

One study finds future groundwater demands may not be met— but Gov. office maintains there will be ample supply


Dorian Wallender (FLICKR)

An irrigation canal running through farm country south of Parker, AZ.

Marcus Reichley, Reporter

A study conducted by the Arizona Department of Water Resources, illustrates that groundwater supply will not be enough to cover predicted demand across the Phoenix metropolitan area within the next 100 years. 

Within 100 years the state could be looking at a true water shortage. 

Groundwater in particular is a more finite resource than our river supplies since it can take thousands of years for them to replenish.

Arizona is known for having some of the most rigorous water management standards in the nation, and our state officials have predicted we’ll be 4% short of demand regarding future construction projects that have already been approved. 

This has prompted Gov. Katie Hobbs to announce that the state of Arizona will begin to limit new construction in parts of Phoenix. 

“The results of the groundwater model projection show that over a period of 100 years, approximately 4% of the demand for groundwater (4.86 million acre-feet) in the region will not be met without further action,” reads a statement from the Governor’s website. 

This change in policy deviates from the Valley norm, for what has been one of the largest growing metropolitan areas in the country, this may mark the end of an era. 

The news comes shortly after a multi-state Colorado River deal, which made headlines earlier this year. Although the deal marked progress in river water allocation and conservation, it still leaves many questions in the air regarding future river drought and water scarcity. 

“It makes sense that we’re short on water, I mean this is a desert and there’s so many people. I have no clue how we get our water now, I know when I see pictures of Lake Mead the water looks so low, the (Colorado) river too,” Phoenix resident Daniel Carr said. 

It’s been reported before that rapid urban development/sprawl in the Valley has led to increasing temperatures, in a phenomena known as the “Urban Heat Island Effect”. 

Now it seems that water scarcity, in the very near-future, will be yet another issue our increasingly growing state will have to reckon with.

Gov. Katie Hobbs holds that the state of Arizona is not running out of water, and that proper planning is being put forth so as to avoid a supply catastrophe in the future.

Following the release of the water study, a $40 million investment from the American Rescue Plan Act (also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package) was announced. 

The federal funds will go to help increase water conservation, improve critical water infrastructure, and promote sustainable groundwater management throughout the state.

“What the model ultimately shows is that our water future is secure: the Assured Water Supply Program is working. Water supplies for homeowners and businesses are protected. Growth has been planned for, and will continue. My message to Arizonans is this: we are not out of water and we will not be running out of water,” Gov. Hobbs in a public statement.