Letter to the Editor: Water, Acequias, Population and Development

March 15, 2012 • Water, United States, Daily Email Recap

Please see this Letter to the Editor, written by Kathleen Parker and published in the Green Fire Times. See: http://greenfiretimes.com/2012/03/letter-to-the-editor-water-acequias-population-and-development/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=letter-to-the-editor-water-acequias-population-and-development

Letter to the Editor: Water, Acequias, Population and Development

Kudos for focus (January 2012) on acequias, a topic I covered for years for a major New Mexico daily. Based on that and a lifetime centered around water-from watching a family well dry up, to fighting two Colorado water projects-I share former NM Acequia Commissioner Wilfred Guttierez’ apprehensions about the threat to acequias in the early 21st century.

As warned by the Scripps Institute, the Pacific Institute, the National Academy of Sciences, the University of Colorado, author William deBuys and others, the Southwest is in the crosshairs of mushrooming population, drought and global warming. DeBuys writes: “If you live in the Southwest or just about anywhere in the American West, you or your children and grandchildren could soon enough be facing the Age of Thirst, which may also prove to be the greatest water crisis in the history of civilization.” I fear he understates the situation a bit!

The United States is the world’s third most populated nation behind only China and India, and despite Census Bureau efforts to obfuscate the fact, it grows-70 percent from immigration-by a whopping 1.1 percent a year, or a doubling time of 65 years or less. The Southwest is the fastest-growing region of that high-growth nation, and often experiences growth rates-between 2 and 3 percent per annum-matched only in Africa! We are almost identical in geographic size and climate to China, which was at roughly our current population of 314 million just one hundred years ago. We can anticipate a China-like population of one billion, possible by next century if current trends hold!

The Southwest is mostly dependent on the waters of just one river, the Colorado and its tributaries. It is today more an elaborate plumbing system than a river system. When the river was allocated-legally divided between Upper and Lower basin states in 1922-16.4 million acre-feet of water was allocated before it was determined only about 14.2 million acre feet flow in the river. Further studies showed the average more likely to be 13.5 million acre feet even as, since 1922, the region’s population has exploded, with towns experiencing a thousand-fold increase in population to become mega-cities resting in the midst of five deserts with a population of 60 million, up from about two million or three million 100 years ago.

To read the rest of this Letter to the Editor, please click here: http://greenfiretimes.com/2012/03/letter-to-the-editor-water-acequias-population-and-development/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=letter-to-the-editor-water-acequias-population-and-development

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