How the West was lost

Following my last optimistic post, back to doom and gloom: Rebecca Solnit reviews Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming and the Future of Water in the West by James Lawrence Powell, in the London Review of Books:

The docks and ramps at both [dams on the Colorado River] have had to be relocated and rebuilt in pursuit of the fleeing waterline, and one simply closed. One ramp at Lake Powell grew to 1300 feet long, another to more than 1500 feet, new additions to the collection of landscape follies across the American West. Phoenix and Vegas seem fated, Powell argues, to become dusty ruins, for the water to sustain them is already vanishing (though Vegas has a murderous scheme to drain much of the rest of Nevada for its golf courses and casino fountains, to the detriment of rural communities and wildlife). If the lack of water doesn’t get them, climate change might: Powell predicts that summer temperatures in the 120s (above 48°C) will be routine in Phoenix. Aridity, he proposes, could well kill off much of the agriculture and two of the biggest cities of the South-West by the middle of this century. (In California, my local paper reports that a severe drought, now into its third year, is forcing state and federal water agencies to cut water deliveries to farmers in the Central Valley, perhaps the world’s single richest agricultural region, by ‘85 to 100 per cent’. A 100 per cent cut would be a death sentence in this Mediterranean climate without rain between May and October.)


About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
This entry was posted in General sustainability and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How the West was lost

  1. nice talking keep going on.

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