Peter Gleick: Peak Water in the American West:
It is no surprise, of course, that the western United States is dry. The entire history of the West can be told… in large part through the story of the hydrology…. But the story of water in the West is also being told, every day, in the growing crisis facing communities, watersheds, ecosystems, and economies…. Las Vegas is so desperate for new supplies they have proposed a series of massive and controversial ideas, including: a $15+ billion pipeline to tap into groundwater aquifers in other parts of the state, diverting the Missouri River to the west, and building desalination plants in Southern California or Mexico so they can take a bigger share of the Colorado…. Praying for rain has become an official water strategy for some politicians in Texas, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, and elsewhere. Another popular water strategy seems to be to sue your neighboring state. Here are some examples: Texas v. Oklahoma and Kansas v. Nebraska and Colorado, and outside of the west, Florida v. Georgia (and Alabama too)….
We must acknowledge that we’ve reached peak water in the American west. We have promised more water to users than nature provides…. This means figuring out how to use water more efficiently and productively, and thinking about moving some water-intensive activities and products to more water-abundant regions… rice, alfalfa, cotton, and pasture with flood irrigation…. Finally we have to stop assuming that the water available for future use is the same as in the past. Climate change ensures that it won’t be.