Climate change has changed Arizona and California, and they now have difficult decisions ahead of them.

With a summer of 120 F (49 C), Phoenix, Arizona, has long been the country’s fastest growing major city over the past decade, according to the United States Census Bureau. This remains true despite the fact that Arizona is facing serious consequences from the climate change crisis and expectations of increased heat deaths, deteriorating air quality and frequent water shortages.

In fact, severe water shortages have become a reality. Arizona also became the first U.S. state to comply with several measures due to the drought in the waters of the Colorado River, which was caused by droughts. The state has maintained its water supply for more than 40 years, and its long-term plan to conserve this essential resource began in 1980 with the enactment of the Groundwater Management Act. The latter is due to a gradual reduction in the amount of water used by large consumers in “active management areas” that include areas covered by the metro network, where 80 percent of the population lives.

“Our focus today is on the state of the Colorado River water system, primarily the accelerated decline in surface water levels in the system’s two largest reservoirs, Lakes Powell and Mead,” said Tom Buchatzky, director of the Arizona Water Resources Division. He added that the two lakes, “both have reached less than a third of capacity, and future prospects are not encouraging.”

While some people flock to the state, others leave in search of cooler temperatures.

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One of them, dr. Chad Arthur, a native of Arizona and orthodontist, packed up his belongings and moved to El Segundo, California. Arthur and his family now live by the sea, and have no plans to return to Arizona. He told me, “Ten years ago, my wife and I decided to leave the economic facilities, low government regulations, low cost of living, and easy lifestyle that Arizona has to offer and move to California.” He added that his family “is looking throughout the year for a way of life that will enable them to go outside through the months of the year, and not just in certain seasons, so that they have ideal temperatures, sunlight and sea breeze. will enjoy. “

Currently, Arizona residents spend long weeks trapped in their homes in the scorching heat. “We thought that since the planet is getting hot without any direction, and because life is short, we want to take advantage of our youth and go to the coast.”

However, California is not immune to the kind of environmental concerns that have hit Arizona hard in the past, as both states face a water shortage that will force Southern Californians to comply with unprecedented measures from next June 1st. Residents are expected to reduce their water consumption to 80 liters per person per day, reducing normal use by about 35 percent. They were specifically asked to limit their outdoor water use, such as watering lawns and plants, to one day a week. Commenting on this, one of the officials said: “We can not afford to irrigate the green lawns.”

But Michael Schellenberger, author of Apocalypse Never, president of the nonprofit Ecological Advance Research and an independent candidate for California’s governor, has a very different approach to solving the water problem without imposing any restrictions. He explained in a telephone interview with him that it is not necessary to save on water. This statement may seem strange, especially since Californians voted in 2014 to spend $ 2.7 billion on water storage.

In Schellenberger’s opinion, “A ruler has failed [كاليفورنيا] Gavin Newsom in building a single new water storage project at the time, “adding that the governor could be influenced by” pro-scarce environmentalists who fear abundant water will attract more people to California. “Schellenberger gives the example of Israel, which is construction of several desalination plants to the extent that it is now working to renew the water level of Lake Tiberias [بمياه محلاة من البحر]. “Just nine desalination facilities as large as the Carlsbad desalination plant near San Diego will be enough to make up for the loss of water from the Colorado River in 2022. If California follows its example, it will have much more water and even export quantities. to neighboring states like Arizona. ” This is undoubtedly an ambitious goal, but its cost is high. But Schellenberger is convinced that the project is worth it.

In a related context, Los Angeles-based comedian Sean Belofsky reports that she has previously noticed the effects of drought and water scarcity. “On my last trip to Big Bear Lake, I saw drought-stricken lakes, wildlife and plants in the heat and brown patches of soil without any vegetation.” “We need to conserve our natural resources,” she added. “Take small steps, start by turning off the tap when you brush your teeth. I tell my friends in Los Angeles to hold the water as if it’s your last injection of Botox.”

Meanwhile, Clint Smith, an independent candidate for Congress in Arizona’s Fifth District, has some creative solutions to the drought problem. He explained in a telephone interview that the water crisis has many facets, and we need to address them all. “Climate change is a reality. Many still deny its existence, even though we see water in Lake Mead reaching unprecedented levels. We are approaching a massive drought. While almost the entire southwestern United States is facing water shortages, other parts are enjoying the country. plentiful in this essential resource. For Clint, “The solution lies in technology, which means we are intelligently taking advantage of the technological capabilities already at our disposal, rather than building a new medium. The technology needed to transport that water is in place, and we need to explore. all options, while also taking steps to improve water efficiency. ” .

Do Arizona residents have time to think about long-term solutions such as building pipelines and water storage facilities? And with new construction across Maricopa County and endless golf courses across the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix as it is called), all of which need water, will Arizona run out of this precious resource?

That will not happen, says Buchatzky, director of the Arizona Water Resources Department. Considering the challenges in the Colorado River water system to be serious, he thinks it would be beneficial for Arizona communities to have diverse water reservoirs other than the Colorado River, including surface water supplies and stored groundwater.

“We have to accept the expectation that our warmer, drier future in the southwest will mean less water from the Colorado River system,” he says. “We have to adapt.”

I grew up in Arizona and now live there. And I saw the change in weather patterns here. The summers are getting hotter and drier, and the situation is exacerbated by the tyranny of cement caused by new construction projects year after year. Even my trees bloom and bear fruit at different times of the year than they did before. For example, the fig tree begins to produce fruit in December, and the citrus trees bloom in January instead of March. The climate is definitely changing, and one does not have to be a scientist to see the effects in your own garden.

Arizona has always been the place where people yearn for a dose of fresh air to relieve asthma and allergies. But now air quality warnings are issued regularly. It is believed that the failure to find solutions to climate change and water problems in the next 100 years will make Arizona completely uninhabitable.

Posted in The Independent on May 7, 2022

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