Could Arizona’s looming lack of water ‘disrupt’ the current investment boom? Damn right it could.
Arizona is rapidly approaching a critical moment in its current slouching towards desertification. Here’s the strange thing—at first, it won’t be directly related to water at all. That moment will occur when large investors decide to do their own worst case scenario due-diligence, and hire outside experts.
It’s a lead pipe cinch those other experts will give their clients an entirely different scenario than the local economic development booster-cult, and report some very hard news for Arizona. An investment epiphany looms; it could get very ugly.
We’ve seen this kind of cheery mass group-think before: Florida in the 1920’s, the S&L booms of the 1980’s, the Dubai boom of the early ‘00s (I was there), the Spanish property bubble (’85-’08), Japanese property bubble (’86-‘91), least of all the Wall Street-steroid induced, “securitized” phantom-real-estate-boom (1990’s-’08), so well depicted in Michael Lewis’ 2010 book (& later movie), The Big Short.
Let me be blunt: the looming lack of AZ water has the potential to scare-the-Bejesus out of the big dogs of global finance. Kiss your marvelous ‘Techno-Cactopolis’ (Phoenix) goodbye. Charles Keating will certainly get a good belly laugh, in-between shovel loads of brimstone (down there).
A speedy execution will be critical: Gov. Ducey just got $1+ billion for his new Arizona Water Authority (AWA), something trying to resemble a “Water DARPA”, an idea I pitched in 2018. It wasn’t until he had a serious sit-down with my State Senator, Vince Leach, that the bigger picture came into focus. Leach, who is President pro tempore of the Arizona State Senate is a retired business executive in the irrigated vegetable industry. AWA’s strategy relies heavily on Baja desalination, a critical point I made in 2019, How Arizona Beats Its Water Curse & Creates a Global Tech Industry.
The Mexican state of Sonora is in similar water straits; their gigantic agribusiness industry is a natural ally of Arizona in this fight; make use of that. Also, think out of the box. Desal requires vast amounts of continuous power; why it’s perfect for using a small modular reactor, now coming online globally. Plus, Mexico has been legally approved (2018) by the US NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) for building such.
A key part of Arizona’s desal strategy should be to keep as much as possible in Mexico, away from US Courts (i.e. the infamous 9th Circuit), away from Dimshevik US regulatory agencies, away from the sinecured, academic anti-growthers at UoAZ, and away from out-of-state money (Soros, Steyer, et al). Like recent actions (4/25/22) in California, where the Hard-Left finally killed southern California’s major desal’d freshwater source, the proposed Poseidon Water facility. It was a giant project delayed by studies, more studies, lawsuits, and more lawsuits since 2005.
Fair warning; Tucson’s RedStar, is already gearing up with their UoAZ enviro-chorus; more strident propaganda pieces are in the works, ditto their allies in Tucson’s notorious Neo-Druid lawsuit cult, the Center for BioDiversity (CBD). If CBD could derail a supply-side water solution for Arizona, and wreck the hideous real estate boom (in their minds); it would be tantamount to achieving the Holy Grail of environmental immortality. Seriously folks, do you really believe you could do the CAP (Central AZ Project) today, or in any kind of timely fashion? Not a chance.
Let’s recap this problem, and solution: embrace desalination ASAP; do it largely with and in Mexico, or delay and risk 2 giant deal-killers: #1. Loss of investor confidence in AZ’s growth & future potential, and #2. The permanent environmental dictatorship of a semi-nihilistic cult.
Sellers is a Southpark Republican living in incorporated Oro Valley; his background is federal technology commercialization