Dry Idea Rolls on
The U.S. Interior Department has identified areas around the county that are likely to face conflicts over water shortages in the next 25 years, including the usual suspects (Los Angeles, Calif., Denver, Colo., and Phoenix, Ariz.) as well as some new hotspots: the Gulf Coast of Texas, North Dakota’s Red River Valley, and Western cities from Bend, Ore. to Albuquerque, N.M. Next week, the federal government will unveil a plan for averting the conflicts and ensuring that agriculture, urban areas, and wildlife get enough water. The plan is expected to call for such measures as water banks, improved irrigation systems, and more emphasis on desalination. Environmentalists were relieved to see the Interior Department championing conservation and creative problem-solving rather than more dam-building, the traditional federal solution to water scarcity. However, no new funds will be made available for the plan, which will be financed out of the current Bureau of Reclamation budget.