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Is truth guiding water decisions?: 'Sometimes,' says leading Arizona expert who called for release of bombshell report

'Sunday Square Off' takes closer look at report on projected water shortfall for major West Valley developments.

PHOENIX — A week before Gov. Katie Hobbs revealed parts of the Phoenix area were planning to grow faster than the available water supply, Kathleen Ferris had urged the governor to make that information public.

"The State of Arizona is facing a water crisis and it is time for full transparency," Ferris, who's worked to protect the state's water supply for 40-plus years, wrote in an Arizona Republic op-ed.

Why should the governor do it? "So the truth can guide our water decisions," Ferris wrote.

On this weekend's "Sunday Square Off," I asked Ferris whether the truth has been at the center of Arizona's water decisions: "Sometimes, but not always. The problem we have now with groundwater has been decades in the making."

After her State of the State speech last week, Hobbs released a state water report that had been kept out of public view. The report's finding: major development projects in and around Buckeye - the fastest growing city in the country - failed to meet the state requirement that they show an assured 100-year water supply.

Ferris and her colleague at Arizona State University's Kyl Center for Water Policy, director Sarah Porter, joined me to discuss the report, why it was hidden, and what it means in the context of Arizona's water crisis.

Also on "Square Off," our political insiders Stacy Pearson, co-founder of Lumen Strategies, and Paul Bentz, senior vice president and research director at Highground Consulting discuss:

  • The growing divide at the state Capitol after the legislative session's first week.
  • Whether the fast-approaching deadline to lift a spending cap on public schools will be used as a bargaining chip by legislative Republicans to get what they want from Democrat Katie Hobbs.
  • Whether Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego will run for the U.S. Senate, creating a potential three-way general election with independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

"Sunday Square Off" airs at 8 a.m. Sundays on 12News, after "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd.

Sunday Square Off 

Watch previous interviews and segments of Sunday Square Off on our 12 News YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to receive updates on new uploads!


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