Arizona will no longer allow new housing construction in the Phoenix area that depends on groundwater, due to new restrictions from the Arizona Department of Water Resources. The West has seen the driest two decades in at least 1,200 years, according to CNBC, and that megadrought is only getting worse.
Earlier this year, Arizona projected that developers planning to build homes in the desert west of Phoenix don’t have enough groundwater supplies to complete their projects, another blow to home builders and buyers contending with steep price gains in a nationwide housing shortage.
A more recent analysis found that roughly 4% of the area’s demand for groundwater, nearly 4.9 million acre-feet, would not be met over the next 100 years. An acre-foot of water is about what two average households consume per year.
The decision would allow developers to continue to build in the affected areas but would require them to find alternatives to groundwater supplies. During a nationwide housing shortage, developers are hoping to build homes in growing metropolitan regions such as Phoenix despite water shortages.