Arizonas Attorney General says shes looking into ways to keep foreign companies from using far too much of Arizonas groundwater to grow crops to feed cows in the Middle East.

Most of the focus has been on a Saudi company but a company from the United Arab Emirates operates water-thirsty farms in Arizona too.

In a sunny state like Arizona, you can grow, cut and harvest alfalfa over and over through the year as long as you have plenty of water. Saudi firms have been in the spotlight for using huge amounts of Arizona groundwater to grow feed for animals in Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis are not the only ones. A company from the United Arab Emirates leases land for an alfalfa farm too.

Cows in the Middle East can fatten up on alfalfa from fields in Arizona west and northwest of Phoenix but that takes colossal amounts of groundwater from deep under our deserts.

The people who have regular wells around here, just regular people. They’re ultimately going to have to drill a well to 550-600 feet. That’s gonna cost the average individual 75 to $100,000. And they can’t afford it. They will leave, they will move away.

Gary Saiter runs the Wenden Domestic Water Improvement District. He says his wells are deep enough to keep serving customers but hes alarmed at how far large farms have drawn down the water.

He does not blame the Saudis, or the companies from the United Arab Emirates. He says there are large farms owned by U.S. companies dipping deep into Arizonas water too. He says theyre all legal under Arizona law, but that law is weak.

Governor Katie Hobbs and Attorney General Kris Mayes have worked to dry out some of the demand by finding legal ways to force companies out of land leases.

Mayes says in some places heavy pumping is making the ground sink enough to damage houses. She says she may use public nuisance laws to help those homeowners

These are people who were there first. They bought houses here. In many cases they spent their entire life savings to drill a well or to buy a house and then and then in comes the Saudis or in comes the Emirati and they pump all the water out from underneath the ground.

Gary Saiter says the best solution is for Arizonas legislature to tighten up the state water law but it better happen soon because people are pulling water out of the ground three times faster than nature puts it back.