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Arizona Legislature fails to take up groundwater and other conservation issues

In January, water policy analysts hoped that the Legislature would take action on Arizona’s shrinking groundwater supplies.

But it appears that lawmakers will back burner the issue once more.

Groundwater in most of rural Arizona is largely unregulated.

In some counties, large feedlots or farms have taken advantage of the lack of oversight and sunk deep wells.

But a number of bills that would help manage rural water supplies have stalled, not on the House or Senate floor but in committee.

In other words, they never even get a hearing. Sandy Bahr, of the Sierra Club, says it is not the first time that lawmakers have failed to act.

"For years now, there have just been a handful of people who have been stopping a lot of water legislation from even being considered," Bahr said.

She says the Legislature is also avoided taking up issues such as climate change and environmental discrimination.

Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.