After a low flow this year in the Colorado River, when the Bureau of Reclamation threatened the Arizona lawmakers to pass laws with respect to changes in accessing water, the negotiators have finally moved a step towards it. For now, the access to the Colorado River is promised.
But, the same law also forces to draw groundwater in the whole of Arizona, as the water from the river is ever receding. Fetching groundwater is a tough task especially in rural areas where the lack of infrastructure is the key.
The farming prone area, the Pinal County needs to rely very less on the River Colorado and will totally depend on groundwater by 2026, the deal suggests. If the deal gets approved, the farmers will have longer access to groundwater and less on River Colorado. It’s to be noted here that, River Colorado has been a source of water for the cities in Arizona.
It’s not that Pinal County has not been drawing water from the ground, the pressure of the earth for fetching excessive water can be seen easily by the soil’s crack and roughness. So, giving access to the groundwater for the farmers is never sustainable.
It’s not only the farmers who are at stake, but the whole Pinal County also face this peculiar issue. The ever-growing desert and pressure of population growth are the main issues. It implies that dependence on groundwater is going to be the concern of farmers as well as other residents. And owing to the poverty, installation of a mechanism to fetch groundwater becomes unaffordable in most parts of the city. So, if not properly dealt with, water fetching is going to be almost impossible for low-income families.
It’s evident that the legislature will struggle to keep the water from River Colorado, but we need to be focused on the groundwater problem as well. Though it might take some more time to reach us, it is undoubtedly going to reach us.
It would be really beneficial to take up in-depth research on the issue. Rep. Regina Cobb of Kingman has tried doing this, but unfortunately, he couldn’t manage to get consensus on this issue.
As of now, the Groundwater Management Act, 1980 has given five “Active Management Areas” where groundwater fetching is regulated. These places are Prescott, Phoenix, Pinal County, Tucson, and Santa Cruz County. And apart from these areas, anyone can draw groundwater through a straw for any purpose.
Cobb said that the problem of groundwater fetching had been there for a long time. It’s still lying unresolved as we don’t agree to accept the problem. But, the situation now seems terrifying as there are lots of pumps fetching water doing a great deal of farming here in Arizona. As per her statement, doing studies on groundwater uses will be the first step towards the regulation on uses of groundwater.
She said that if we didn’t track the usage of groundwater, we would soon be facing water scarcity. The idea of metering the uses of groundwater for large users has been on the desk for quite some time now. Some lawmakers have extensive knowledge and research experience on this particular issue.
People are of the opinion that the water under the ground they possess is their property, but that’s the wrong attitude. The groundwater of Arizona is still a public resource, and it should be regulated to avoid any situation in the future where we will be deprived of water.
Water is a kind of resource that is not taken seriously unless it is fraught with peril. People tend to overlook the risks that such ignorance can bring in. This has happened in a lot of countries, and is still happening. Therefore, appropriate regulation regarding groundwater is seemingly the need of the hour.