Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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The Dwindling Colorado River

The Colorado River is diminishing.  Now, finally, some people -- the water managers in the west -- are starting to realize that we're not looking at temporary droughts but at long-term changes in available water.  It's freaking them out.

I know that feel, bro.  I warned people about this problem when I was 12 and we visited out west.  The signs were obvious even then, but most people didn't want to believe it.  I'd mention the coming Water Wars and they thought I was nuts, except for one or two who asked me what to do about it.  I listed off conservation measures and said, "Realistically, though, move out while you can still sell your house for good money to people who don't know any better.  Because the stupid people are making the decisions, and they going to run out of water, and anyone still here when the music stops is screwed."  That's even more true now.  It's still possible to get great money for property in the west, but that won't hold once the water shortages really kick in.  The agriculture and other water-thirsty businesses will go, the jobs will go, people won't want to live where they can't get water reliably -- sooner or later, the property values will crash, and everyone still there will be unable to cash out.

I'm glad to see people starting to think of these as permanent changes, though.  We still have time to reduce the population by gradual, voluntary means.  If we run out of water, it will turn into a disaster evacuation, and those are much harder to handle.

Tags: environment, news, science
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