Gary Woodard argues that we need to stop worrying so much about running out of water and do a better job instead of planning for the fact that we’re using less:
Stories about the alarming state of water in the West seem to be everywhere. Prolonged drought, scant snowpacks, receding reservoirs, rampant groundwater overdraft, and devastating forest fires all fuel the debate about whether, and to what degree, climate change may be reducing our water supplies. The sense of gloom is deepened by stories about the challenges of supplying ever-increasing water demands. These articles — many penned by east coast journalists — cite growing populations and new water uses, including sustainable energy production and environmental mitigation efforts. They often reflect a belief that sprawling, desert cities are inherently unsustainable
Fortunately, these stories are dead wrong. Rather than struggling to meet growing demands, many Western water providers have been surprised, perplexed, and even challenged by decreasing demands, which have shrunk revenues, left infrastructure unused, and confounded long-term planning.