The Stream, March 16, 2022: Arizona’s Water Supplies Are Shrinking

The Central Arizona Project canal moves water from the Colorado River to interior Arizona. Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue


  • Residents in Mariupol, Ukraine are running low on water and food reserves.
  • Indigenous communities that have lacked reliable drinking water in Canada begin applying for a multi-billion-dollar settlement.
  • Climatologists predict drought will continue in the Horn of Africa.
  • The United States Defense Department will close a fuel tank facility in Hawaii that contaminated water supplies on a Navy base last year.

Water supplies in a small town in Arizona will run out by the end of the year.

“Our little corner is the canary in the coal mine.” – Leigh Harris, a resident in Rio Verde Foothills, Arizona. The small unincorporated town of Rio Verde Foothills will stop receiving water shipments at the end of this year. Water delivery companies have announced they’ll no longer serve the area due to the nearby city of Scottsdale’s decision to stop serving customers outside city limits. The decision comes after the federal government declared a Tier 1 shortage on the Colorado River last year, which forces some states, including Arizona, to reduce water usage from the river.

In context: Rio Verde Foothills was one of many towns that were created as a result of Arizona’s economic boom over the last few decades. But the state’s powerful will to grow is being challenged by extreme heat, deep drought, and serious water related stress. In the first of three reports, Circle of Blue tackles Arizona’s reckoning with water.

In Recent Water News

At Peak of Its Wealth and Influence, Arizona’s Desert Civilization Confronts A Reckoning Over Water – Arizona’s powerful will to grow is challenged by extreme heat, deep drought, and serious water-related issues.

What’s Up With Water—March 15, 2022 – This week’s episode of What’s Up With Water covers the aftermath of devastating floods in Australia, a flood resilience project in New York City, and water conservation legislation in Utah.

Major Ukrainian City Running Low on Food and Water As Russian Attacks Continue

In Ukraine, the Mariupol City Council announced Sunday that the city is running out of water and food reserves. Ukrainian authorities have been desperate to open a viable human corridor to deliver vital supplies to the city, but officials say Russia has totally blockaded the port city. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said during a nightly address to Ukraine that Russian forces have been ordered to “hold Mariupol hostage” and “to constantly bomb and shell” the city.

This Week’s Top Water Stories, Told In Numbers


The claims process under an $8 billion settlement for Indigenous communities in Canada opened for submissions this week. Two separate lawsuits filed by two Ontario First Nations over lack of access to clean water in 2019 started the years-long legal battle. The settlement was approved by courts in late December of last year. 


Climatologists and relief agencies fear that drought will persist in the Horn of Africa, leaving as many as 20 million people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia facing extreme hunger. If their predictions are correct, it will the longest the region has experienced in 40 years.

On the Radar

The Pentagon announced that it will permanently shut down a massive fuel tank facility owned by the Navy in Hawaii after a petroleum leak contaminated Pearl Harbor’s tap water. Nearly 6,000 people fell ill late last year due to the contamination. The U.S. Defense Department said the new fueling system will be more cost-effective and secure.

More Water News

Farmers in Maine discovered PFAS chemicals in their soil and water supplies.

Chile’s environmental regulator fined a major mining operation more than $8 million for damaged caused by water extraction.

Australian authorities are warning against swimming after extreme flooding in Sydney washed pollution into beaches and waterways.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply