Megafarms and deeper wells are draining the water beneath rural Arizona – quietly, irreversibly

Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents Fondomonte

By Ian James, and Rob O’Dell | Arizona Republic

Vast expanses of lush green fields are multiplying in the Arizona desert, forming agricultural empires nourished with billions of gallons of groundwater in the otherwise parched landscape. 

Arizona’s groundwater levels are plummeting in many areas. The problem is especially severe in unregulated rural areas where there are no limits on pumping. The water levels in more than 2,000 wells have dropped more than 100 feet since they were first drilled. The number of newly constructed wells is accelerating, and wells are being drilled deeper and hitting water at lower levels. 

This free-for-all is draining away the water that homeowners also depend on, leaving some with dry wells.  

As the groundwater is depleted, Arizona is suffering permanent losses that may not be recouped for thousands of years. These underground reserves that were laid down over millennia represent the only water that many rural communities can count onas the desert Southwest becomes hotter and drier with climate change.