PHOENIX — A study done by the non-profit organization "Business for Water Stewardship" shows a grim future for rural Arizona real estate.
"The study confirmed that, especially in rural locations that are on wells, but also in rural locations that have municipal water supply, we can expect cost reductions associated with the value of those properties with ongoing depletion of groundwater levels and with ongoing drought," says Todd Reeve of Business for Water Stewardship.
In other words, home property values could dip as low as 12% under severe drought conditions in parts of rural Arizona.
For the Verde Valley in Yavapai County, 12% is nearly $60,000 in lower property value.
The study specifically focused on the Verde Valley and the Upper Santa Cruz regions. These are areas that represent two different models for groundwater management.
Upper Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz County is part of an Active Management Area, or AMA, which has significant groundwater management tools in place.
The Verde Valley in Yavapai County is not part of an AMA, and neither is 80% of the state. These areas have unregulated groundwater pumping.
"Arizona is one of the only places in the Southwest, in the Colorado River Basin right now, where rural groundwater is difficult to manage because the state doesn't offer or enable tools to manage that resource," Reeve says.
The key is proper management in the future.
Business for Water Stewardship says Arizona State Representative Regina Cobb is proposing legislation that would allow rural communities to collaborate and develop their own groundwater management strategies in the future.