A couple of years ago I reflected on the dryness I saw and felt visiting family and friends in the West.
Things have not changed.
Historically, cities in the West and Plains have coped with a scarcity of water by drawing down ground or surface water, then by looking for more-distant sources.
But “we’re running out of reach in terms of new sources to be raided to try to balance the water equation in the West,” Mr. Richter explains, referring to proposals to pipe water from Alaska or Canada to the West.
He says he is reluctantly coming to accept the possibility of desalination plants as one answer, though they are expensive, energy intensive, and produce large quantities of concentrated brine that requires disposal.
Given projections for population growth, balancing the water equation will require more intense efforts to shift water resources from farming to urban areas, he says.
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