Rural Arizona counties watch as governor's panel takes up groundwater issue

Published: Wednesday, July 12, 2023 - 8:10pm

Much of rural Arizona relies exclusively on groundwater, but the resource is for the most part unregulated.

The governor’s panel on rural groundwater met recently to discuss the problem, which has led to falling water tables and a call for action.

La Paz County has been hit hard by the lack of regulation and has emerged as a kind of poster child for the problem.

That’s where the Saudi-financed alfalfa farms have set up shop to raise crops with groundwater, which get shipped overseas.

County Supervisor Holly Irwin says she’s cautiously optimistic that the governor’s panel may take action.

Cautious because she’s seen plenty of committees meet on the issue, optimistic because of the new administration.

"I just hope you know maybe with this governor we can get something done because clearly under Gov. Ducey nothing got done," Irwin said.

The panel is expected to make its recommendations at the end of the year.

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