Southwest Coming to Grips With Water Crisis

Will banning lawns and limiting water use be enough as new communities continue to sprout up across the drying west?

1 minute read

June 20, 2023, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Writing in Circle of Blue, Brett Walton describes the growing water conservation movement in the American Southwest, where booming populations and strained water supplies are bringing the urgency of the water crisis to the forefront.

One by one, cities such as Tucson are banning ‘ornamental grass’ and home lawns, while others are cutting off water supplies to unincorporated communities.

According to John Berggren, a water policy analyst with Western Resource Advocates, “There’s a growing recognition that there are actually ways to allow growth to happen, that don’t really increase the amount of overall water you need” through landscaping regulations, zoning codes, and other policy levers. “We don’t have to restrict growth, we just have to shape it and make sure water efficiency is embedded throughout the entire development process.”

While developers are hanging on to this promise of infinite growth with the right technological and regulatory policies, the cost of water continues to rise. Meanwhile, agriculture remains the biggest user of water in the state.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023 in Circle of Blue

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