Critics say Arizona’s growth patterns are unsustainable and dangerous, given the depleted Colorado River and the state’s deepening reliance on groundwater.
“Water supplies are shrinking throughout the Southwest, from the Rocky Mountains to California, with the flow of the Colorado River declining and groundwater levels dropping in many areas. The mounting strains on the region’s water supplies are bringing new questions about the unrestrained growth of sprawling suburbs,” writes Ian James for the Los Angeles Times.
Population growth in Arizona continues to lead the nation, even as federal regulators force states to implement the largest ever reduction in water diversions from the Colorado River. To make up the difference, according to James, Arizona communities are increasingly turning to groundwater.
“[Arizona State University’s Kyl Center for Water Policy researcher Kathleen] Ferris and others warn, however, that allowing development reliant solely on groundwater is unsustainable, and that the solution should be to curb growth in areas without sufficient water,” writes James.
The state’s ongoing growth plans—build in suburban patterns dependent on groundwater—are exemplified in the article by a Phoenix suburb called Buckeye.
“According to its 2020 water resources plan, 27 master-planned communities are proposed in Buckeye, which depends primarily on groundwater. If all the proposed developments are fully built, the city’s population, now 110,000, would skyrocket to about 872,000,” writes James.
The article was published the same day as a video available on YouTube, posted above, supplementing the article.
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