This story was originally published by Yale Environment 360 and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Photography by Ted Wood, courtesy of E360.
In the rolling hills around San Diego and its suburbs, the rumble of bulldozers and the whine of power saws fill the air as a slew of new homes and apartments rise up. The region is booming, its population growing at a rate of about one percent a year.
This, in spite of the fact that Southern California, along with much of the West, is in the midst of what experts call a megadrought that some believe may not be a temporary, one-off occurrence, but a recurring event or even a climate change-driven permanent “aridification” of the West. The drought is so bad that last year federal officials ordered cuts to water provided to the region by the Colorado River for the first time in history.
Water officials in San Diego, though, say they are not worried. “We have sufficient supplies now and in the future,” said Sandra Kerl, general manager of the San Diego Water Authority. “We recently did a stress test, and we are good until 2045” and even beyond.
San Diego is not alone. While t... Read more