The Central Arizona Project (CAP) is a 336-mile-long canal that transports water from the Colorado River to central and southern Arizona. It is managed by a 15-member board of directors, elected from the three-county service area of Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties. These board members serve for alternate six-year terms. Climate change has caused a decrease in snow cover and runoff that reaches the main reservoirs in Arizona and Southern California, prompting Governor Doug Ducey to review the state's approach to groundwater management.
An example of this is the Saudi conglomerate Fondomonte, which is pumping local groundwater in La Paz County without much regulation. The company has farms in Butler Valley and Vicksburg, as well as a hay processing and storage plant in Calipatria. The Water Equity Network is working to ensure all communities have access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water and wastewater services. They are also advocating for communities to have a say in water management decisions and share the economic, social, and environmental benefits of water systems.
Clean Elections and the Arizona Civic Leadership Center are organizing an event for Maricopa County voters to meet the candidates running for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District. This will give voters an opportunity to hear directly from the candidates about their plans for water rights and conservation. The arrival of Fondomonte in Arizona has highlighted how global companies are able to control arable land around the world and manage scarcity in their countries of origin. In April, the Land Department wrote to tenants in the state's transportation basins asking them to provide detailed information on their water consumption.
If Governor Ducey acts on this issue, it could lead to a confrontation with Fondomonte that could have implications not only for foreign companies interested in American natural resources, but also for the future of agriculture as drought intensifies in the Southwest. Fondomonte currently employs 225 people on its Arizona farms, making it one of the largest private employers in La Paz County. The political campaigns in Southern Arizona are focusing on water rights and conservation. The Water Equity Network is working hard to ensure all communities have access to safe drinking water and wastewater services.
This will give voters an opportunity to hear directly from the candidates about their plans for water rights and conservation. Governor Ducey's review of groundwater management could lead to a confrontation with Fondomonte that could have implications not only for foreign companies interested in American natural resources, but also for the future of agriculture as drought intensifies in the Southwest. It is important that all stakeholders are involved in water management decisions so that everyone can benefit from these resources.