Saudi Company Is No Longer Pumping Groundwater in Arizona

Published On: March 14, 2024By Categories: Newsline

Arizona officials have stopped a Saudi-owned company from pumping groundwater for forage crops in a valley in the southwestern region of the state.

Governor Katie Hobbs joined the Arizona State Land Department on March 7 to announce that in terminating and declining to renew the leases of Fondomonte the company is no longer pumping groundwater in the Butler Valley groundwater basin.

After inspections, the State Land Department confirmed that Fondomonte is no longer irrigating on any of its Butler Valley leases. Visual inspections also confirmed Fondomonte has begun taking steps to vacate the property.

“I’m not afraid to hold people accountable, maximize value for the state land trust, and protect Arizona’s water security,” Governor Katie Hobbs says. “I am proud to deliver this not just for the La Paz County community, but for the entire state of Arizona, and will continue taking decisive action to protect Arizona’s water so we can thrive for generations to come.”

Fondomonte held four separate lease agreements in the Butler Valley Basin. On October 2, 2023, the State Land Department notified Fondomonte that three of its four leases in the Butler Valley Basin would not be renewed. Fondomonte was simultaneously notified that one of its leases had been canceled due to an uncured default.

Fonodmonte pumped groundwater in the Butler Valley to grow forage crops to export back to Saudi Arabia for use as livestock feed. Some residents in the area had complained that the company’s pumping was threatening their wells.

Climate-challenged countries like Saudi Arabia are increasingly looking to places in other parts of the world for water and land to grow forage for livestock and commodities such as wheat for domestic use.

Read the Current Issue

you might also like