Looming world wide, already here in many places on Earth.
While the science of today is far ahead of the old water witches armed with forked twigs or brass rods, much remains unknown. Global climate scientists continue to raise questions that put old models and studies in question. Future demographic shifts and increased demand for food will strain existing allocations and systems.
Bureau of Reclamation Forecasts Lower Water Release from Lake Powell to Lake Mead for 2014, the lowest release since the filling of Lake Powell in the 1960s.
The unintended consequences of surface water use, and diversion has created devastating results in some areas already. Today pumping of ground water in some areas of the United States has lowered water tables hundreds of miles away. As water tables drop salinity can become a problem even if there is still water to pump. Recharge rates based in time may be measured in thousands of years. Looking forward one thing is certain, the demand for water will only increase.
Research Reports Climate Change Could Cripple Southwestern Forests "Using climate-model projections, the team projected that such megadrought-type forest drought-stress conditions will be exceeded regularly by the 2050s. If climate-model projections are correct, forest drought-stress levels during even the wettest and coolest years of the late 21st century will be more severe than the driest, warmest years of the previous megadroughts. The study forecasts that during the second half of this century, about 80 percent of years will exceed megadrought levels. The current drought, which began in 2000, is a natural case study about what to expect from projected climate scenarios. While average winter precipitation totals in the Southwest have not been exceptionally low, average summer-fall evaporative demand is the highest on record."
Western Water Rights wars have always been about supply and demand, this one is no different. It is a big one for our region and it is far from settled. The summary is this, the Colorado River is over drafted and that is The City of Las Vegas’ main water source. Las Vegas’ answer is tap into very sparsely populated Nevada Counties to the North Central and Eastern Side of the state, and build a 327 mile long pipe. As you might expect there is a great deal of opposition to this plan, the opposing parties include the Sates of Utah and Idaho.
At a far more basic, down to Earth level, locals in the proposed region to be tapped into are concerned about wells going dry and springs drying up. Most science I have read leads me to believe this is not only possible but Very Likely over time. No one can blame them for standing up for their rights, lifestyle, livelihood, and water.