"Thirty years after Arizona tried to stop cities and towns from using up their groundwater, the state still can't shake its thirst for one of its most finite resources.
The steady drain on underground reserves grows out of two realities: Canals and pipelines don't reach far enough to deliver surface water to everyone, and laws don't reach far enough to stop people from drilling.
If the groundwater addiction continues unabated and under-regulated, the effects will be broad and potentially disastrous: Scarcer supplies could push rates higher and create uncertainty about water availability, discouraging new business and slowing economic growth. If wells start to run dry and aquifers collapse, the landscape could be dotted with fissures and sinkholes.
Lawmakers adopted some of the nation's most progressive water-protection laws to avert such crises, but the laws excluded rural areas and allowed changes that let cities and subdivisions resume well-drilling, further depleting exhaustible aquifers."
Shaun McKinnon reports for the Arizona Republic August 2, 2009.