Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Water Constrainted Future of the Southwest

I read this twice to let it all sink in - Day of reckoning for the parched Southwest: technology and conservation won’t be enough (link).  People are not prepared or preparing for this.  From the article: 

"But conservation isn’t bringing water use into balance with available supply – the water deficit remains. Take Arizona, often lauded for its water-saving efforts. Since 1980, the state has had a groundwater management act that, in theory, permits residential construction only if builders can demonstrate the existence of a 100-year water supply and show how they will “recharge” what future homeowners draw from local aquifers. That program is what Spencer Kamps, a spokesman for the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, pointed to when he told Remapping Debate, “We’re in a sustainable model for many years … We don’t have a water problem in Arizona.”

Yet Arizona’s Department of Water Resources released a report last month, “A Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability,” which concluded: “Although the State has an existing solid water management foundation, water demands driven by future economic development are anticipated to outstrip existing supplies.”

By how much? “When we looked at some of the studies that were done for Arizona,” says Sandra Fabritz-Whitney, the department’s director, “what we found is our imbalance in a hundred years could be 3 million acre-feet” – in other words, roughly the same deficit that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation projects for all seven Basin states by 2060."

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