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Lawmaker: Better disclosure of rural homes’ water supplies

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PHOENIX  – In the growing rural areas of Arizona, many home buyers learn too late that they aren’t assured an adequate supply of water, a state lawmaker contends.

That’s because unlike subdivisions in metro areas, those built in most rural areas aren’t required to have a 100-year assured water supply certified by the Arizona Department of Water Resources when they are built.

Home buyers, especially those who migrate from other areas of the country, often don’t know to ask questions about water supply, said Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe.

“Protecting the consumer is vitally important for all of us,” he said.

Ableser has introduced a bill that he says would offer rural home buyers easier access to information on a home’s water supply. HB 2025 would require developers completing subdivisions to file the ADWR report on the water supply’s adequacy or inadequacy with the county recorder.

Under the current law, sellers of six plats or more must only share the report with the first buyer. Ableser said this leaves all subsequent buyers out of the loop.

The bill covers homes outside of active management areas, which primarily include the corridor from the Valley south to Nogales as well as Prescott.

Ableser has introduced the bill several times before without success, but he said statewide drought makes this a pressing issue.

“We don’t have enough water,” he said. “The only way to fix this is to allow people to choose where to purchase.”

Spencer Kamps, vice president of legislative affairs for the Central Arizona Home Builders Association, said it should be the responsibility of sellers to continue sharing the reports because those reports can change over time.

“To require us to file a public report, which is essentially a living document … we’re not sure it achieves the goal of giving buyers disclosure,” he said.