The U.S. is Teetering on the Brink of Large Water Crisis
Updated: Sep 12
As the Colorado River dries, the megadrought gripping the western states is only part of the problem. Alternative sources of water are also imperiled, and the nation’s food along with it.
The #climatecrisis is more complex than any single model can capture. For instance, the #megadrought gripping the West for the last two decades has caused the Colorado River to wither, causing the U.S. government to demand neighboring states cut their water usage by as much as 40%. But it gets worse. As the Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS)‘s Jay Famiglietti illuminates in this interview with ProPublica‘s Abrahm Lustgarten, the peril to American agriculture is even greater than one might imagine, as farmers shift consumption from surface water to groundwater, accelerating aquifer depletion.
“I don’t want to be flippant,” Famiglietti says, “but people don’t understand the food-water nexus. Do we try to bring more water to the southern high plains, to Arizona, to California, because if the food system’s optimized, maybe that’s the cheapest thing to do? Or does agriculture move to where the water is? Does it migrate north and east?”
Climate models can’t answer that question. Climate Alpha can. Our scenario forecaster allows customers to explore the potential implications of these kinds of feedback loops. Reachout to our team to learn more.