It’s official: the southwestern United States will likely never be the same again. A new analysis of the past 35 years of weather patterns concluded that what is now considered a normal year of rain and snow in the Southwest is one-quarter drier than it was before the 1970s.
Lucky for them, some folks have confronted this problem.
Israel’s central Arava desert, where saline soils and dry climates are the norm, a thriving community creates up to 60% of Israel’s exported agricultural products.
The driest state in the United States (usually Wyoming) gets roughly double that, and is still classified as desert. Wyoming’s agricultural economy largely consists of some widely grazed pastures by undernourished cows, and yet, here in the Arava region of Israel, everything from eggplant to watermelon is grown, but mainly it’s tomatoes and peppers that dominate the landscape.
Is that great or what? And here's how another dry country coped.
“The Australians learned that what got them through the drought was massive conservation but what sustains them going forward is that they implemented steps that make them resilient,” Feldman says.
Indeed, Australia’s innovations include no longer treating droughts as natural disasters and things, such as a national water market, that have never been successfully attempted in the US.
It's all too good for me to pick and choose from. Long story, short, we'll probably get pretty thirsty here before we do much about water shortages.