Arizona's Water Controversy: Saudi Firm Allowed to Use Colorado River Water for Alfalfa Irrigation

Arizona, like many Western states, is battling to preserve the rapidly shrinking Colorado River.

Other states: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, and California

However, the state has allowed a Saudi Arabian firm, Fondomonte Arizona, to use water largely unchecked for irrigation purposes, sparking controversy.

Fondomonte Arizona was allowed to use water from the Colorado River to irrigate alfalfa hay for export to Saudi Arabia to feed dairy cows.

The leased land was part of a state program that allows companies to rent state-owned lands to grow crops.

The foreign ownership of leased land has caused outrage in Arizona. The state had no idea how much water Fondomonte Arizona was actually using after a proposal to track its usage failed.

The investigation by The Washington Post 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."

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 situation in Arizona is part of a larger dispute over the shrinking Colorado River that many Western states rely on.

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.

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.

It is crucial that we continue to prioritize conservation efforts and promote responsible water use.