Christina Roessler begins with a cautionary tale of the Ancestral Pueblos (1200 to 1300 CE), a 1,000 year old culture who because of a speculated prolonged drought and other climate changes along with suspected drops in water table levels, lost the inertia of their significant Southwest culture.
Jump to the 21st century and a question for us: “What will it take for our desert communities and ecosystems to survive?”
Regardless of climate change speculations and predictions, the population growth of these desert areas has at least doubled since 1960-now over 48 million people served by the Colorado River Compact. There is already a fundamental crisis over the supply and demand needs of the Western states, and both population growth and current drought trends are quickly adding more pressure for a given solution.
So what happens? The high tech answer, water desalination, may create more problems than it can solve. The rivers and water tables are already under stress. If a place has lots of money (billions) and another place that will sell them water, then maybe an answer to a particular place. Limiting growth is not an American ideal. The smart cities are investing in water conservation. Go Albuquerque and Tucson!
The chapter then becomes a study in what towns and citizens can do. Go xeriscaping! And with water conservation comes the harder human thing to do: changing concepts and perspectives. The class work becomes the question, “What can we do in Oklahoma City to ensure water quality and supply?”
Why use this chapter: