Arizona Says It Can Keep Growing Despite Megadrought

Here’s why Arizona says it can keep growing despite historic megadrought

BUCKEYE, Ariz. — Drive traffic-clogged Interstate 10 through Phoenix’s West Valley suburbs and you’d hardly know the Southwest is as dry as it’s been in 1,200 years.

Water gulping data centers, large warehouses and distribution centers have sprouted in the barren desert. Housing development after housing development is slated for construction.

A two lane highway is being widened in the former farming town of Buckeye, at the edge of the Phoenix sprawl, to make way for an 800 home “master planned community.” A sign advertises new homes coming soon with the offer of joining “the VIP interest list.”

City officials proudly promote Buckeye as one of America’s fastest growing cities. In 2000, the population was around 6,500. Today it’s north of 111,000, according to the city’s mayor Eric Orsborn. His city’s master plan calls for future growth encompassing a staggering 640 square miles of open land to the south, west and north.

“For perspective, the city of Phoenix is about 518 square miles, so we have this massive footprint to grow into,” Orsborn says.

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