...continued from Part 1
The bureauís projections mean we are close to uncharted territory. The current shortage agreement, negotiated between the states in 2007, only addresses shortages down to a lake elevation of 1,025 feet. After that, the rules become murky, and there is greater potential for fraught legal conflicts. Northern states in the region, for example, are likely to ask why the vast evaporation losses from Lake Mead, which stores water for the southern states, have never been counted as a part of the water those southern states use. Fantastical and expensive solutions that have previously been dismissed by the federal government ó like the desalinization of seawater, towing icebergs from the Arctic or pumping water from the Mississippi River through a pipeline ó are likely to be seriously considered. None of this, however, will be enough to solve the problem unless itís accompanied by serious efforts to lower carbon dioxide emissions, which are ultimately responsible for driving changes to the climate.
Meanwhile, population growth in Arizona and elsewhere in the basin is likely to continue, at least for now, because short-term fixes so far have obscured the seriousness of the risks to the region. Water is still cheap, thanks to the federal subsidies for all those dams and canals that make it seem plentiful. The myth persists that technology can always outrun nature, that the American West holds endless possibility. It may be the regionís undoing. As the author Wallace Stegner once wrote: ďOne cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native home of hope.Ēhttps://www.propublica.org/article/40-million-people-rely-on-the-colorado-river-its-drying-up-fast?utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=majorinvestigations&utm_content=river