Water is becoming scarcer as climate change alters its availability, while population growth is fueling an ever-growing demand. These realities make clear that society must move beyond old approaches to regulating and managing water to meet future challenges, John Tubbs, a veteran water policy leader, said at AAAS.
The city of Phoenix, Arizona has doubled its population in the past 20 years without increasing its water consumption—a minor miracle in a region that receives less than 10 inches of rainfall each year.
The city held water usage down with a variety of initiatives, from leveling agricultural fields to avoid runoff to encouraging citizens to do their laundry at night. “Technology was part of that,” said Matt Fraser, a professor of sustainability at Arizona State University, but “the biggest part was actually changing people’s behavior.”
Do you know how much water it takes to light your house? How about the electricity involved in watering your prize-winning tulips? As it turns out, it’s a lot more than you’d think.
Due to expected population growth and urbanization in the United States—especially in drought-prone Western States like Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Nevada—two top energy experts at a AAAS discussion urged the federal and local governments to explore new strategies to meet nation’s burgeoning water and electricity needs.