News Stories

Where Future Water Wars Will Be

The Interior Department says Las Vegas, Carson City, Nev., Albuquerque, N.M., Denver, Houston and Salt Lake City will experience water shortages by 2025. They say, "In some areas of the West, existing water supplies are, or will be, inadequate to meet the demands for water for people, cities, farms and the environment even under normal supply conditions." Ironically, some of these places are among the fastest growing cities in the U.S.

There's expected to be a water war over the Rio Grande and the Colorado River in the future. Other areas that may experience water shortages are Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, Phoenix and San Antonio. Cities that have a "moderate" chance of water shortages are Seattle, Dallas, Casper, Wyo., Boise, Idaho and Salem, Ore.

Interior Secretary Gale Norton says that if we don't prepare, we can expect to see more water wars like the one in the Klamath Basin in 2001, when armed federal officers were called in after the Interior Department cut off farmers' water in order to protect endangered salmon. Another water war was fought in California, after the state failed to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to reduce state's overdependence on the Colorado River. In response, Norton reduced the amount of water California can draw from the Colorado River this year by 600,000 acre-feet, meaning that 1.2 million people will have to find another source of water.

We need to face the facts about our future, if we're going to be able to do anything about them.

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