Good Intentions, Unintended Consequences: The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District
22 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2007
The 1980 Arizona Groundwater Management Act is widely celebrated as a progressive piece of legislation that attempted to halt excessive groundwater pumping. A key component of the Act was its requirement that developers demonstrate an "assured water supply" [AWS] before receiving permission to build. In the early 1990s, the legislature created an optional method for securing AWS compliance: membership in the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District [CAGRD]. This option has turned out to be far more attractive than was originally envisioned. This paper explores the good intentions but unintended consequences brought about by the CAGRD option.
As membership in CAGRD has skyrocketed, so has the CAGRD's obligation to obtain additional supplies of renewable water. From where, and at what price, CAGRD will obtain these supplies is very problematic. This article offers a set of options that would reform how CAGRD operates. Without significant change, CAGRD will find itself required to accept additional members but without access to long-term water supplies to meet it replenishment obligations.
Keywords: Water, Water Law, Trade in Water
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