Governor Hobbs limiting building permits due to water shortage
Governor Hobbs recently announced the state will no longer approve building permits for developments inside Assured Water Supply areas that rely solely on groundwater, saying the groundwater in the Phoenix area was already spoken for.
Arizona’s Assured Water Supply Program requires builders outside certain boundaries like city limits to show they have a 100-year supply of water, and generally groundwater is the basis of that guarantee.
But according to the Arizona Department of Water Resources’s newest water model, all of that groundwater has been allocated for the next 100 years. The halt on permits does not affect projects that have already been approved, nor does it affect cities that have already shown a water guarantee.
Sarah Porter, the Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University, said this means there is insufficient ground water to issue new building permits for sub-developments.
Porter said this is an effort to replenish ground water as the state attempts to not be so reliant on groundwater.
“One, is to prevent a scenario in which there are new subdivisions developed and homes built but no long-term water supply for those homes. So this new determination that there is not enough groundwater to have new housing subdivisions built is one way of making sure that never happens,” Porter said.
The primary area being affected is the city of Buckeye, which does not have a designation of assured water supply, Porter said. Developers will need to find other sources of water in order to continue building and expanding in Buckeye.
“This new ruling does not have any impact on development on the mass majority of cities in the greater Phoenix area,” Porter said.