Losing Phoenix — The Great Western Water Crisis

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Losing Phoenix — The Great Western Water Crisis

  1. 1. On peak electricity days during the summer in Phoenix, water flows through Glen Canyon Dam at a rate of 18,000 cubic feet per second.
  2. 2. The question is: how long will the water hold out?
  3. 3. Today the Colorado River provides water to some 40 million people and irrigates nearly 5.5 million acres of farmland. Flickr user Olibac
  4. 4. Colorado Wyoming Utah New Mexico California Arizona Nevada Under the Colorado River Compact of 1922, the water is split between the Upper and Lower Basins.
  5. 5. The agreement provides the Lower Basin with 7.5 million acre-feet (maf) of water per year.
  6. 6. But they are using an extra 1.3 maf, exceeding their allotment by 17%.
  7. 7. The surplus has been provided by Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir.
  8. 8. But Lake Mead is near a historic low, and is less than half full. 47% of capacity
  9. 9. And that’s not even the worst news. Flickr user Bala
  10. 10. Flickr user Bala The Colorado River’s users are expected to grow from 40 million to 50 to 75 million by 2060.
  11. 11. Which would increase the demand for water way beyond the historical average of 16.4 maf. Average annual flow of the Colorado This water doesn’t exist
  12. 12. Flickr user Arian Zwegers And that’s before climate change really kicks in.
  13. 13. One study suggests the flow will decrease by 10% by 2030. Which will create an even larger water gap. Average annual flow of the Colorado This water doesn’t exist
  14. 14. Flickr user Wolfgang Staudt These slides are based on an article by William Debuys called “Say Goodbye to Phoenix — and the American West” that was published recently on Salon.com ( http://ow.ly/nAmz1 ). It’s such a clear and powerful explanation of the predicament of the West that I thought I’d make some slides for anyone to use. They are published under a Creative Commons Attribution license and can be downloaded at http://ow.ly/nAnuZ Chris Landry has produced slide presentations for Unilever, Stonyfield Farm, the Ford Foundation, and other clients. His work was featured in the book Presentation Zen. Landry Communications helps mission-based organizations tell their stories. Learn more at www.christopherlandry.com or send email to chris@christopherlandry.com.

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