Good Morning Arizona Interviews Steven Greenhut on “Mega-Drought” in the West
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Are we running out of water? It’s a scary thought but a possible reality for states like Arizona that are facing droughts. Some scientists warn the Grand Canyon State and the rest of the West may be headed for the worst megadrought in history. According to the United States Drought Monitor, nearly 99% of Arizona is in some sort of drought. Only a sliver in southwestern Arizona is not; it’s only “abnormally dry,” according to researchers. About 87% of the state is in extreme drought and nearly 57% is in exceptional drought, which is the worst level. A year ago, about 80% of Arizona didn’t have any dry or drought conditions and only 7% of the state was in a severe drought.
Right now, 92% of the Western region of the U.S. is experiencing some sort of drought, with nearly 25% having exceptional drought. Five years ago, only 61% of the West was experiencing drought conditions and only 4% were seeing the most severe conditions. Ten years ago, the West saw only 25% of its area with drought conditions. Some scientists warn the Western region may be headed for the worst megadrought in history. A megadrought is a drought that lasts two decades or longer.
So what does this mean and are there things that can be done to prevent this? Steven Greenhut wrote a book on it called “Winning the Water Wars.” He says the issue goes beyond families conserving water at home.
“How to create abundance, rather than just sitting back and imploring people to shower less. That’s not going to solve the water problem,” said Greenhut.
He believes better policies and infrastructure are needed to combat the problem. “The key is planning ahead, and we need to plan ahead by building more infrastructure, improving water pricing, embracing new technologies that help create water abundance,” said Greenhut. He said Western states should support projects like water recycling and store water during rainy years to use during dry years.