April 17, 2021- Eight years ago, I passed through the town of Magdalena, New Mexico, as it had run out of water, for the first time in memory. Since then, Magdalena has managed to keep its potable water supply above the minimum. The area is not “high growth”, so there has been a positive response to water conservation.
Arizona, southern California, Utah and Colorado, along with other parts of New Mexico, are high growth areas, with no corresponding stability in their water supply. We, in central Arizona, find ourselves in a place that is both appealing to those looking to relocate AND is in a period of lesser precipitation. The southwestern part of what is now the United States has known drought that has lasted as long as 400 years. During that time, the indigenous peoples of Arizona, California and Nevada packed up and left for other places which were not experiencing as severe a lack of precipitation.
The present, more transactional, society is, at least for now, both more numerous and more resistant to relocation, than were the somewhat simpler communities of the First Century, A.D. It is not hard to imagine just what chaos would ensue, in communities both densely populated and centered on high rise residential building, should the situation that faced Magdalena-and Cape Town, South Africa, a few short years ago, overtake them.
The present social climate has more than its share of denial-based, most likely, on the inability to imagine a world of dry taps. The technology for mass building of canals and distribution of water, from half a continent away, does not yet exist, nor does the public will to look into the matter. It will, however, present itself as necessary-and possibly as soon as the tail end of my lifetime, which is, as many of you realize, not all that far off.
We will need far more rain this summer, than has fallen in the past several years-and a much higher snowfall, come the winter of 21-22 and beyond, if the worst case scenario is to be averted.