It is widely known today that the allocations of water from the Colorado River that were agreed to in the Colorado River Compact in 1922 were based upon data from very wet years. Not average. And now, of course, average is ... changing?
If the droughts in CA, AZ and the rest of the southwest persist for another two years or so we are going to have to readdress that 1922 compact as we will have no choice because there will not be enough water to fill allocations and cities will run out of water. That will be an interesting fight to watch.
I did some checking of the respective population growth of Arizona and California since the 1920s at http://www.demographia.com/db-state1900.htm
. At this site the last year posted was 2003, however for my purposes it is enough to show the dramatic growth of both states: POPULATION YEAR ARIZONA CALIFORNIA
1920 334,162 3,426,861
2003 5,580,811 35,484,453
In addition to the growth of the population, we have to consider the many ways per capita water consumption has increased in the past 90+ years.
1. How many of the individual homes in 1920 did not have indoor plumbing?
2. How many of the individual homes in 1920 did not have lawns that required irrigation?
3. How many of the individual homes in 1920 did not have swimming pools?
4. How many of the individual families in 1920 did not have automobiles that required water for cooling and washing?
5. How many acres of agricultural land in 1920 were irrigated?
6. How many golf courses were there in 1920?
7. How many buildings (homes/offices/stores/public buildings) used water for cooling?
8. How many water intensive heavy industries were there in 1920?
This list could go on ad infinitum
, and others may add to it. Oh Yeah, I just remembered that we are using fresh water for fracking!!
Things aren't much different here in Texas, where the population has increased from 4,663,228 in 1920 to 22,118,509 in 2003. And Texas is heavily dependent on water for both agricultural purposes as well as the oil/gas industry. Last month my wife had the opportunity to listen to Alyssa Burgin, Director of the Texas Drought Project, speak at her garden club regarding the desertification of Texas. This particular garden club consists primarily of wealthy right-wing conservatives, who deny AGW/CC and were somewhat put off when Alyssa was introduced and the words "Climate Change " were used. However, my wife told me that they paid rapt attention to the speaker when given absolute facts. The Texas desert is moving Eastward at the rate of 10 miles/year. It will soon be crossing the I-35 corridor between Dallas and San Antonio. Fortunately, San Antonio has one of the more progressive plans to address water issues of any city in the US that is vulnerable to water shortages. Unfortunately, San Marcos, just south of Austin is the fastest growing city in the US and has no current plans to address future water issues. In comparing the water crisis in Texas to that of California, Alyssa stated the Texas is in "Dire Straights"
while it is probably "Too Late"
For those interested in more facts about drought conditions in Texas, here is the link to the Texas Drought Project: http://texasdroughtproject.org/aboutus.html
I've heard Alyssa speak several times in political venues and I highly respect her, however, their website has been a work-in-progress. It's now mature enough for me to share it with a broader community.