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Drought and Water Scarcity in the USA
Water is life, this common quote can be best understood by people facing severe water shortage such as those in the Western states of the USA. Most of the Western states in the USA such as California, Colorado, and Texas have a desert-like environment, which is associated with severe water shortage and high temperatures. Yet, despite these challenges, most of them have developed ingenious ways to cope with the problem of water scarcity. Markedly, these have come at a high cost. However, the results are worth the efforts. In fact, these are some of the fastest growing regions in the USA, which among other factors, the presence of piped water is a major contributor to these economic developments.
The article on how ten Western states are dealing with the problem of drought and water scarcity is informative. To begin with, the article clearly illustrates innovative ways of water conservation such as water recycling that have been adopted by cities such as San Antonio and Orange County. San Antonio recycles almost 16% of all its water. Similarly, Orange County recycled 115 billion gallons of water in 2013. On the same breath, cities such as Orange County, Las Vegas, Tucson, Phoenix, and Los Angeles have established regulations that require residents to replace green grass with native desert vegetation. Desalination, which is the process of purifying salty water, has been adopted by cities such as El Paso and Santa Cruz. Other methods include policies requiring residents to use water-efficient nozzles, reclaiming of reservoirs, regulating developments to match the available water supplies, and the use of water police. Moreover, in 2013, the city of San Antonio issued free toilet giveaways for those built before 1993. On the same breath, there are regulations requiring for the closure of the use of non-recirculating water fountains in Orange County (Heinrich, 2013).
Overly, the article presents a clear and thorough research on the need for water conservation in these cities. To begin with, the paper acknowledges that these regions experience desert like climate, which is a major cause of their water scarcity. Consequently, the policies requiring individuals in cities such as Tucson, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas to replace green grass, which requires a lot of water is justifiable (Heinrich, 2013). Similarly, the paper places well thought arguments on the disastrous effects of wildfires on the supply of water. Majorly, wildfires lead to increased toxic levels of water supplies through arsenic poisoning. In order to eliminate this problem, the city of Santa Fe has established the policy of controlled thinning of forests to protect its water reservoirs (Heinrich, 2013). In light of this, I liked the article since it showed the various ways that each city is implementing to solve its unique problems of water scarcity.
Finally, the paper clearly shows how cities are trying to meet their demand for water when faced with a supply shortage. As a result, these cities are making efforts to control and minimize the demand for water. Chiefly, they are encouraging people to replace green grass with desert vegetation, which requires little water for them to grow. Similarly, they have established laws that limit the amount of water that individuals consume. These policies include outlawing non-recirculating fountains in Orange County, the use of water-efficient nozzles, and the use of modern water-efficient toilets. Moreover, they have water police to ensure that these laws are obeyed (Heinrich, 2013). On the supply side, they have established measures to ensure that there is ample water in their localities. Generally, these policies are based on increasing sources of clean water through methods such as desalination, water treatment, recycling, and protection of reservoirs (Heinrich, 2013). Overly, these measures will ensure that these states have ample water supply for their residents.
References
Heinrich, H. (2013). How 10 western cities are dealing with water scarcity and drought. Retrieved from https://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2013/08/02/how-10-western-cities-are-dealing-with-water-scarcity-and-drought/