Last week, Arizona’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced that groundwater aquifers in the Phoenix area are lagging behind projected 100-year needs, according to a new state groundwater model. Given DWR’s determination that all of the physically available groundwater is fully allocated, the state will not approve future development in the area that relies on a guaranteed groundwater supply and does not have plans for alternative water sources.
While existing designations will be grandfathered in, those seeking new “Assured Water Supply” determinations will need to do so based on alternative water sources. The Governor indicated this is a backstop to protect against a more pronounced state water crisis.
In addition, approximately $40M of federal COVID-19 funds are being repurposed to promote groundwater conservation and to seek sustainable water supplies.