Southeast Arizona voters to decide how their groundwater supply will be managed

By Ron Dungan
Published: Monday, November 7, 2022 - 5:58pm
Updated: Tuesday, November 8, 2022 - 8:37am
Audio icon Download mp3 (960.95 KB)

Arizona’s water supply has been national news as water levels at Lake Powell drop.

But the state’s largest reservoirs are only part of the story, because in rural Arizona, groundwater remains unregulated.

The fate of a number of statewide propositions will be decided after the polls close.

But in southeast Arizona, voters will also decide on propositions that would create management districts for groundwater.

Some legislators have called for more oversight, but their bills never make it out of committee.

“I think that the people who are pushing for this in the Douglas and Willcox basins, have finally just said, look, nobody’s taking care of us, so we’re going to have to do what we can to take care of ourselves,” said Kathleen Ferris of the Kyl Center for Water Policy. Ferris helped craft Arizona's urban groundwater policies.

In the last decade, more users have tapped into the system, while groundwater levels fall.