Pinal County Faces 100-Year Water Shortage
The need for water in the Pinal County region will vastly outpace the available groundwater supply over the next 100 years, according to a new analysis by the Arizona Department of Water Resources.
The Pinal County region is one of five Active Management Areas throughout the state where ADWR monitors the health of aquifers under the land. The department's latest data predicts the area faces a shortfall of more than 8 million acre feet of water.
ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke, who presented the findings to an ad hoc committee of state lawmakers in Casa Grande on Friday, said the shortfall represents the difference between the region's estimated water needs, for everything from agriculture to new development, and the available groundwater.
“What those two numbers mean is that there’s not enough water for all those demands, because wells dry up or there’s bedrock at a higher level or well are not drilled to a depth where water actually exists, and that water from that well dries up," Buschatzke said.
Buschatzke warned against searching for a silver bullet to solve the problem but said he'll leave it to local officials in Pinal County to devise a holistic approach to meeting the region's water needs.
Rep. Noel Campbell (R-Prescott) called on a higher power to help find solutions: Gov. Doug Ducey.
Without the governor's leadership on the issue, Campbell warned that Pinal County resident will be hung out to dry by inaction.
“We can sit here and talk ‘til hell freezes over and we won’t get anything done. We just won’t," Campbell said. "I mean, I’m not a pessimist about it, that’s just the political beast here. So it takes leadership. It takes somebody to crack some heads. You don’t make an omelet without cracking eggs.”