This Week’s Report: “Water Crisis in the West”

Severe drought, a warming globe and rising demand for water in states such as Arizona and California are spurring fears of an unprecedented environmental crisis in the West: the lack of enough water to sustain the region’s massive agricultural industry and urban-population boom, Staff Writer Peter Katel writes in this week’s report.

The problem is sparking bitter conflict among agricultural interests, environmentalists, housing developers and others who have a stake in the issue, Katel writes.

“The confluence of drought, climate change and new scientific data on the region’s natural history is prompting a wave of concern in a region where massive dams, reservoirs and canals were thought for most of the 20th century to have solved water problems in the region,” Katel explains. “Worries are especially acute in the sprawling seven-state Colorado River Basin and in Texas, a swath that includes the entire Southwest.”

This timely report is especially useful for classes, reports and debates on environmental and agricultural policy, land use, local and state governance, geography and political science.

--Thomas J. Billitteri, Managing Editor