Saudi Arabia is out of water so it grows hay in Arizona

Outside of Phoenix, in the scorching Arizona desert, sits a farm that Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy uses to make hay for cows back home.

(Image:  NPR)

“That dairy company, named Almarai, bought the farm last year and has planted thousands of acres of groundwater-guzzling alfalfa to make that hay. Saudi Arabia can’t grow its own hay anymore because those crops drained its own ancient aquifer.
“The laws were put in place in the ’70s, and kudos to Arizona — they were really one of the first states to put in groundwater laws. But the laws were really designed for local or domestic farming. The idea that another country would come and essentially export your water via crops just wasn’t really around 30, 40 years ago. And so the laws that are in place are really inadequate for dealing with this new trend.

“This is occurring in a part of Arizona that is unregulated for groundwater. So there are no limits on how much water they can pump.”  From:

GR:  Not sure how long Arizona can afford to give water to the Middle East.  Perhaps this will continue until 1) the depth to water becomes so great, the Saudis will find desalinization of water for livestock feed is cheaper than pumping the water and shipping the hay, or 2), the ruling Saudis complete their move to the U. S. and simply abandon the poor people of their country.

(Thanks to DT Lange for placing the link to this story on Robert Scribbler’s site.)


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