Here’s The Nature Conservancy’s Brian Richter, in his new book Chasing Water, describing what the solution space for the Colorado River Basin’s water problems might look like:
Even though urban water uses (for domestic, commercial, and industrial purposes) account for only a minor share of total water use in most water-stressed places, urban water use is often growing much faster than agricultural use. The need for more water in cities and industries conflicts with the reality that agricultures is already consumptively using most of the renewable water supply. One of the options available to cities or industries wanting to access more water is to find ways to work with farmers to share limited water supplies. Ultimately, the economic, social, and environmental risks associated with water scarcity cannot be adequately addressed in many places without reducing the volume of water being consumptively used in agriculture.
Recall from yesterday’s discussion the relative size of Las Vegas and Imperial Irrigation District bars in the Lower Colorado River Basin 2013 water consumption graph:
There’s no way that urban conservation gets us out of this mess.