Arizona water officially no longer used by Saudi company

Fondomonte Arizona, a company backed by Saudi Arabia, has officially ceased using water resources from the state.

The governor’s office has reported that an inspection conducted by the State Land Department on Feb. 15 found that the company’s land leases in Butler Valley, western Arizona, were no longer being used for irrigation. According to Arizona’s Family, it is estimated that the company has already pumped more than 5.3 billion gallons of groundwater in 2022.

In a statement released on Thursday, Governor Katie Hobbs expressed her excitement for the beginning of a new chapter in Arizona’s water future.

“I have no fear when it comes to holding people accountable, ensuring the maximum value for the state land trust, and safeguarding Arizona’s water security. I take great pride in delivering these results not only for the La Paz County community but for the entire state of Arizona. My commitment is unwavering, and I will continue to take decisive action in order to protect Arizona’s water resources, ensuring a thriving future for generations to come,” emphasized the governor.

According to The Center Square, it seems that Fondomonte is making progress in their departure after the governor canceled their leases on thousands of acres of land in October, as noted by her office.

“The inspections conducted in collaboration between the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and Governor Hobbs’ administration have revealed what we had already suspected – Fondomonte has been in violation of its leases for numerous years,” stated Attorney General Kris Mayes in a press release.

According to Mayes, the state government should have made today’s announcement much earlier, even though it is commendable. He believes that their failure to act sooner highlights the importance of having better oversight and accountability in managing the state’s most crucial resource.

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The office mentioned that the company has filed an appeal in court for the cancellations, despite the fact that the agreements expired on February 14th.

The farms in Butler Valley have a specific focus on cultivating alfalfa, which is then exported to the Middle East for cattle feed, as reported by the New York Times. One of the prominent players in this industry is Fondomonte, which is a subsidiary of Almarai Co., a renowned dairy company.

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