Will Western Cities Face a "Reverse Katrina"?

Dusty "red snow" in the Rockies, plunging water levels in Lake Mead and California's forest fires are all signs that the West is drying up, writes Chip Ward.

Ward warns in particular that the heavily dammed Colorado River is of particular concern, owing to numerous cities that depend upon it:

"If the Colorado River shut down tomorrow, there might be two, at most three, years of stored water in its massive reservoirs to keep Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and dozens of other cities that depend on it alive. That margin for survival gets thinner with each passing year and with each rise in the average temperature. Imagine a day in the not so distant future when the water finally runs out in one of those cities -- a kind of slow-motion Katrina in reverse, a city not flooded but parched, baked, blistered, and abandoned...After decades of frantic urban development and suburban sprawl across the states that draw water from the Colorado, demand has simply outstripped supply and it's only getting worse as the heat builds."

Ward argues that Western Americans must become extremely conscious of their place in their watersheds and conserve water through xeriscaping and other means.

Full Story: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175113


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Red necktie with map of Boston

Tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.