Worldchanging reviews James Lawrence Powell’s Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming, and the Future of Water in the West. This is sobering stuff. The historical record shows that the American Southwest generally is drier than it is now. Currently, the four primary rivers in the region are drying up and the snowpacks are receding. Lake Powell, a major source of water, could reach “dead pool” by 2021. This means water levels will have dropped below that of the lowest outlets.
“For the Colorado River basin and the Southwest,” Powell says, “the threat from global warming lies not in the comfortably distant future — the threat is here today. West of the 100th meridian, the danger derives not from the slow rise of the sea but from the more rapid fall of the reservoirs… business as usual cannot continue.”
I don’t think this is alarmist. Clearly there are far too many people and not enough water. And it’s getting worse, not better. We need to start planning now.