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The Growing Water Crisis

A sociology professor at Syracuse University, in the late 1970s, shared a prediction with me. He said that the while the Northeast and other northern states, known collectively as the Rust Belt, were suffering population and business losses, they would eventually return to prominence, for one reason and one reason only.


As an interesting article in The New York Times earlier this week reports, fueled by an historic drought probably caused by climate change, water is becoming more and more scarce in large parts of the western third of our country.

The article discussed how one Utah town is limiting its future growth, concerned that an influx of people from around the country is helping it run out of water and making it clear that water means life, in many forms.

This should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to the population growth of many western states and the simultaneous declining levels of reservoirs and the overall water table in these very same states. From west Texas to the California coast and just about everywhere in between, including the high country state of Colorado and the desert states of Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, the lack of water is becoming an issue that can no longer be ignored.

And, this situation is not going to improve anytime soon.

While conservation is one way to stretch the limited resources available, it is becoming increasingly clear that other localities, and perhaps entire states, will eventually be forced to curtail growth and take other measures to limit the use of water in the future. As The Times article reported, as much as 80 percent of the water used goes to farming and those products are needed across the country.

Horace Greeley, the New York publisher, famously said in 1868, "Go west, young man." Perhaps, that should no longer be the case.

Just my angle.

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