A Growing Water Crisis In Rural Arizona Desert

New development explodes in the underregulated rural Arizona desert, as developers realize that a severe lack of water won't prevent development.

The developer, Jim Rhodes, assembled ample land and promised to build roads, parks, schools and shopping centers. What he couldn't promise, not with certainty, was that he could provide enough water for all the people, a failing Kemp thought would doom the project.

Even if the state finds the water supply inadequate - that's what appears likely unless the builder's engineers can shore up their studies - Rhodes can keep building. While developers must prove they have a 100-year assured water supply in Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott, they face no such regulation in rural Arizona and, under the law, can build even if the state rules their supply is inadequate.

...In the space of a year, maybe two, builders have proposed more than 160,000 single-family homes, apartments and condominiums, more housing units than currently exist in all of Mohave County.

'We are in a crisis,' said Bensusan, a county resident who helps spread the word about the development on a Web site she manages. 'Our entities are not listening to us. The way these plans were rushed through, it was a joke.' "

Full Story: Gambling on water


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