The mirage in the valley of the sun

Paul Hirt, Annie Gustafson, Kelli Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The Valley of the Sun, a booming metropolitan region of 3.7 million people in a desert that gets seven inches of annual rainfall, has enjoyed an oasis lifestyle during the twentieth century, supported by government-funded reclamation projects and water pumped from aquifers deep underground. Following World War II, groundwater depletion accelerated rapidly, threatening the sustainability of that Sunbelt boom. The state of Arizona, with prodding from the federal government, passed the Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980 designed to end groundwater overdraft by 2025. Initially considered a progressive statute, the law has been systematically weakened over the past twenty-five years, increasing water insecurity and delaying necessary conservation and growth control measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-514
Number of pages33
JournalEnvironmental History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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