Arizona has been allowing a Saudi Arabian firm, Fondomonte Arizona, to use water largely unchecked from the shrinking Colorado River to irrigate alfalfa hay for export. The alfalfa is exported to Saudi Arabia and used to feed dairy cows, and the land was leased under a state program that allows companies to rent state-owned lands to grow crops. While it’s not the only company to lease state land in this way, the foreign ownership has caused outrage in the state.
Outrage over Foreign Ownership of Leased Land
The foreign ownership of leased land has caused controversy in Arizona. The state had leased the land to Fondomonte Arizona, allowing them to extract groundwater to irrigate their alfalfa crops. The alfalfa was then exported to Saudi Arabia to feed dairy cows. The situation raises questions about the responsible management of water resources and the role of state programs that allow the leasing of state-owned lands to companies for crop production.
Lack of Oversight on Water Usage by Fondomonte Arizona
The state had no idea how much water Fondomonte Arizona was actually using after a proposal to track its usage failed. The Post investigation found that the water amounted to enough to support a city of 50,000 people, while Arizona residents have been asked to cut back their water consumption. The lack of oversight on water usage by Fondomonte Arizona has caused concerns, and state officials were reportedly “cautious of tangling with a powerful company.”
Water Amounts to Enough to Support a City of 50,000 People
The investigation by The Washington Post found that the amount of water used by Fondomonte Arizona was enough to support a city of 50,000 people. This is a significant amount of water that could be used for other purposes, such as agriculture, drinking water, and other domestic uses. The situation highlights the need for better water management and oversight to ensure that water resources are used efficiently and sustainably.
Arizona Residents Asked to Cut Back Water Consumption
Arizona residents have been asked to cut back their water consumption, while the state has allowed a foreign-owned company to use a significant amount of water for alfalfa irrigation. This raises questions about the state’s priorities in managing its water resources and the need for better oversight and management of water resources to ensure that they are used in a sustainable and equitable way.
Fondomonte Arizona’s Defense
Fondomonte Arizona has defended its use of water, claiming that they have been unfairly singled out and that they should be measured by the same standards as all farming leaseholders in the state. The company has argued that it is not the only company to lease state land in this way and that the foreign ownership should not be a cause for concern.
Background on the Colorado River Dispute
The situation in Arizona is part of a larger dispute over the shrinking Colorado River that many Western states rely on. Over the past year, Arizona, California, and Nevada missed several deadlines imposed by the federal government to come to an agreement on how to cut usage. Finally, in May, the three states agreed to voluntary cuts, but experts have said that more cuts will be needed to stave off drought long-term.
State-Level Agreement Reached in May, but More Cuts Needed to Stave Off Drought
The voluntary agreement reached by Arizona, California, and Nevada in May is a step towards better water management, but more cuts will be needed to stave off drought long-term. The situation in Arizona highlights the need for better oversight and management of water resources to ensure that they are used in a sustainable and equitable way. The responsible management of water resources is essential to the survival of communities and ecosystems that rely on them.
The situation in Arizona highlights the challenges that many Western states are facing in managing their water resources sustainably and equitably. While the state-level agreements reached in May are a step towards better water management, more needs to be done to ensure that water resources are used efficiently and responsibly. The responsible management of water resources is essential to the survival of communities and ecosystems that rely on them. It is crucial that we continue to prioritize conservation efforts, promote responsible water use, and work towards greater equity in water distribution to ensure that we can sustainably manage our precious water resources for generations to come.