By Corinne Murdock |
Over Memorial Day weekend, Governor Doug Ducey traveled to Israel, in part, to visit a desalination plant holding a proposed solution to Arizona’s ongoing drought.
Desalination removes minerals from water, making water sources like seawater into a potable resource.
The Israel trip marked a continuation of Ducey’s proposed plan mentioned in his State of the State Address last summer. At that time, Ducey introduced the idea of a $1 billion investment into Mexico for desalination. The governor has his eye on the Sea of Cortez, or the Gulf of California, bordered by the west coast of Mexico and the Baja California peninsula.
Although, it would likely be years before Arizona reaps the benefits of desalinated water. Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke predicted to KTAR that it would be another decade before the state relied on desalinated water.
Arizona has been in a long-term drought for nearly 30 years. The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that about 90 percent of Arizonans are impacted by drought, or 6.4 million people. The NOAA added that 2022 marked the state’s sixth driest year in its history.
The ongoing drought was exacerbated recently by the reclassification of the Colorado River, Arizona’s largest renewable water supply, to Tier One drought status. The federal government’s reclassification reduced Arizona’s water allotment.
Cities have adapted to heed the drought. In January, the city of Scottsdale asked residents to reduce their water usage by five percent. Resident compliance may not remain voluntary: city officials communicated that their next step would make water restrictions mandatory.
During his visit, Ducey also visited with Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and toured their border wall as part of the other two focuses of his trip: trade and border security.