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The $80 Million Acre (from “How We Survive”)
Nov 14, 2023

The $80 Million Acre (from “How We Survive”)

How investors are banking on water scarcity.

This week, we’re dropping into your feeds to tell you about another podcast we make here at Marketplace, that we think Uncertain Hour fans will really like. It’s called “How We Survive.” And it’s about how people are navigating solutions to a changing climate. There’s a new season out now about water scarcity in the American West. We’re excited to bring you the first episode.

Buckeye, Arizona is a small city with big dreams. 

Located on the western edge of the Phoenix metro area, Buckeye has the distinction of being one of the fastest growing cities in the country. In the past few decades, its population has ballooned more than 20-fold and the city plans to add more than 100,000 new homes in coming years. Some Buckeye boosters are betting the city will become “the next Phoenix.”

The only catch? Growth requires water. And Buckeye doesn’t have enough. So what’s a small city with big dreams to do?

Part of the answer lies in one scrubby acre of land way out in the Harquahala Valley that’s owned by a group of investors. Buckeye wants to buy the plot for $80 million for the water that lies beneath it. 

This episode, we follow one small city in its quest to secure more water. We visit a master-planned community out in the Arizona desert. And we explore how hedge funds and other investors are profiting from the water crisis and reshaping the West.

The future of this podcast starts with you.

This season of “The Uncertain Hour” tells the unheard stories of real people affected by the welfare-to-work industrial complex.

Stories like these are seldom in the limelight. It takes extensive time and resources to do this type of investigative journalism … to help you understand the complexity of our economy and to hold the powerful to account.

We need your support to keep doing impactful reporting like this.

Become a Marketplace Investor today and stand up for vital, independent journalism.

The team

Krissy Clark Host and Senior Correspondent
Caitlin Esch Senior Producer
Marque Greene Assistant Producer
Grace Rubin Assistant Producer
Michael May Editor
Chris Julin Scoring and Sound Design