The problems New Mexicans face are different than those of Atlanta. We use groundwater for most of our cities’ drinking water, an option Atlanta does not have. In addition, the arid climate of the West is much more variable than in the South. In response, we have built large, multi-year reservoirs that buffer water users against one or a few dry years.
But our underlying long-term problems are similar. Our growing population and resulting increasing water demand also leave us vulnerable to natural dry spells. And in the West, the tree ring record shows those dry spells can be severe and very long lasting.