The Global Race for Water in the Arizona Desert

This week’s episode of Reveal looks at a surprising contributor to the water crisis in the American West.

Bales of hay are stored under shelters at Al Dahra Farms in the McMullen Valley in Wenden, Arizona. John Locher/AP

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Nine years ago, Reveal reporters Nate Halverson and Ike Sriskandarajah broke the story that identified an unlikely contributor to Arizona’s water crisis: Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy company. Deep in the Arizona desert, the company, Almarai, was using huge amounts of water to grow hay—then shipping it back home to feed dairy cows.

Since then, the water shortage in the American West has only gotten worse, but corporate megafarms have continued to bleed Arizona’s wells dry. This week’s episode of Reveal delves deeper into Halverson’s reporting on water use in the West, looking at how Arizona pension managers fueled the crisis by investing in a deal that depleted local water supplies.

To learn more about the fight over global food and water resources, watch The Grab, a film by Center for Investigative Reporting Studios and director Gabriela Cowperthwaite, in theaters and on streaming June 14.

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