The current civilization of the US Southwest cannot survive this century at its current scale, concludes southwest writer and conservationist William DeBuys at Tomdispatch. This is due to current unsustainable levels of water consumption, combined with longer, hotter, drier droughts predicted for the region under continuing climate change. In his new book, A great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest. deBuys reviewed studies on southwest climate history, water law and consumption, and predicted climate change. They showed that southwestern mega-droughts of 30 years or more occurred centuries ago, resulting in the violent end of much smaller past civilizations, and could occur again. Long term climate records show that the 20th century was an unusually moist one there. Now, there are already more extreme southwestern droughts with just a two degree Fahrenheit rise, and another 10 degrees rise from climate change is predicted by 2100. By 2026, Lake Mead, a major reservoir, will become too dry to function, causing big problems for California agriculture. To downsize our southwest civilization humanely to sustainable levels, Debuys notes that we must act effectively, starting now.
Coming to a Theater Near You: The Greatest Water Crisis in the History of Civilization ; scroll down at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175475/