In a significant announcement, Governor Katie Hobbs has unveiled crucial measures to safeguard Phoenix's water future. With concerns over the city's groundwater situation, new construction restrictions and a substantial investment in water conservation are set to play a pivotal role in preserving the region's vital water resources. Let's delve into the details of this crucial development and explore how it impacts Phoenix's growth and sustainability.

Understanding the Groundwater Challenge:

According to the recent Phoenix Active Management Area Groundwater Model study, approximately 4% or nearly 5 million acre-feet of the groundwater demand required for the Valley may remain unmet without decisive action. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Governor Hobbs has taken a proactive approach to ensure the long-term availability of this precious resource.

New Construction Restrictions and Water Conservation:

In compliance with legal requirements, Governor Hobbs has announced a temporary pause on new construction projects in the Phoenix area that rely on groundwater. This measure aims to minimize strain on the existing water supply while alternative solutions are explored. Additionally, a $40 million investment has been allocated to bolster water conservation efforts, promoting efficient use and management of available resources.

Impact on Phoenix Communities:

The new construction pause will primarily affect areas without a Designation of an Assured Water Supply (DAWS), ensuring that growth in regions with robust water portfolios remains unaffected. Major cities within the Valley, backed by proven water portfolios, can continue to accommodate current and future demands without interruption.

Two Valley communities, Buckeye and Queen Creek, are experiencing rapid growth but lack a DAWS designation. While the restrictions may pose challenges, both communities have affirmed their commitment to securing a sustainable water supply. Buckeye, enhancing its water portfolio, is confident that its existing resources will sustain customers and projected growth for the next 20-25 years. Queen Creek, with a 100-year assured water supply, is actively diversifying its water sources to mitigate any potential impact on its current customers and ongoing projects.

The Changing Landscape of Development:

The restrictions on new construction pose a shift in the dynamics of development within the Valley. Previously, developers would obtain Certificates of Assured Water Supply (CAWS) for their projects. However, with the construction pause, relying on local groundwater to secure a CAWS is no longer feasible for proposed subdivisions. Developers seeking to build in these areas will likely shift their focus to more expensive land with a DAWS designation.

Looking Ahead:

As Phoenix continues to grow in population, the rate and pattern of development are expected to evolve. It is imperative that developers, policymakers, and residents work together to implement sustainable water management practices and make wise choices to ensure a resilient water future for the Valley.

Governor Katie Hobbs' announcement of new construction restrictions and a significant investment in water conservation marks a pivotal moment in Phoenix's water management journey. These measures reflect a proactive approach to address the groundwater challenges and secure the city's water future. By embracing innovative solutions, conserving resources, and fostering sustainable growth, Phoenix can set an example for other regions facing similar water concerns. Together, we can ensure a thriving and water-resilient future for the Valley.

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