Arizona, Low on Water, Weighs Taking It From the Sea. In Mexico.
Fifty miles south of the U.S. border, at the edge of a city on the Gulf of California, a few acres of dusty shrubs could determine the future of Arizona.
As the state’s two major sources of water, groundwater and the Colorado River, dwindle from drought, climate change and overuse, officials are considering a hydrological Hail Mary: the construction of a plant in Mexico to suck salt out of seawater, then pipe that water hundreds of miles, much of it uphill, to Phoenix.
The idea of building a desalination plant in Mexico has been discussed in Arizona for years. But now, a $5 billion project proposed by an Israeli company is under serious consideration, an indication of how worries about water shortages are rattling policymakers in Arizona and across the American West.
On June 1, the state announced that the Phoenix area, the fastest-growing region in the country, doesn’t have enough groundwater to support all the future housing that has already been approved. Cities and developers that want to build additional projects beyond what has already been allowed would have to find new…