Nobody who knows Peggy Judd would mistake her for a political progressive.

At age 59, Judd is in her second term as one of three supervisors in Cochise County, a nearly 4 million-acre expanse of mesquite and cholla cactus, irrigated cropland, and pecan orchards silhouetted by towering mountains in southeast Arizona. Raised on a Cochise County farm and true to her allegiance to private property rights, Judd has no interest in hampering the development of this high desert county’s farms and ranches, which are an economic growth sector accounting for over $100 million in annual sales.

One more detail about Judd. Like many other Arizona Republicans, she is preoccupied by former President Donald Trump’s big lie that he won the 2020 election. County voters called for Judd’s resignation last year after she bragged on her Facebook page about marching on the Capitol during the January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally.

Yet when it comes to water in a county where groundwater is the sole source for irrigation and drinking, and where demand is racing ahead of supply, the boundaries of politics and ideology can change. Clear proof has emerged in recent years of the serious consequences of dropping groundwater levels in water-scarce Cochise County. A surge of aggressive groundwater pumping by new homes in the county’s southern region, along with recently arrived and thirsty livestock, pecan, and pistachio farms, has impaired the protected San Pedro River and caused irrigation and homeowner wells to go dry.

Read the full article about the drought in Arizona by Keith Schneider at The Counter.