Governor Hobbs Cancels Fondomonte Lease

Water Crops
October 6, 2023

Phoenix, AZ, Oct 6th, 2023 – Governor Katie Hobbs followed through on her promise to prioritize Arizona. On Monday, Governor Hobbs ordered the termination of one Fondomonte lease and the nonrenewal of several others. 

Read more from press coverage, below:

Hobbs began criticizing the sweetheart deals to Fondomonte on the campaign trail last year during her run for governor. Her administration has this year revoked well permits for the company and paused renewals and applications to lease state-owned lands in groundwater transportation basins.

Republican La Paz County Supervisor Holly Irwin has been raising concerns for eight years about such leases and their toll on the state's water supply. ‘I'm just so glad we have leadership in this current administration that listened to La Paz County's voice,’ she told The Republic. “For the first time, I feel like there's real hope in dealing with the water issues here.”

- Arizona Republic: Arizona moves to end Saudi farm's controversial groundwater deals to grow, export alfalfa

An investigation by the governor's office found that the foreign-owned farm had violated some of its lease terms. Hobbs called it unacceptable that the farm "continued to pump unchecked amounts of groundwater out of our state while in clear default on their lease."

Holly Irwin, La Paz County Supervisor, says this was long overdue. "La Paz County and other rural areas in the state of Arizona finally are being heard on these water issues," said Irwin. "They're real. You know we have people…their wells have gone dry due to this massive pumping."

- Fox 10: Arizona ends water lease with Saudi Arabia-owned farm, other companies

The overseas company sucking water out of the Arizona ground will no longer be able to do so, according to an announcement from Gov. Katie Hobbs on Monday citing a default on the company's lease.

- 12 News: Arizona to end deal allowing Saudi farms to suck Arizona's groundwater dry