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The Colorado River Is in Trouble

That means everyone who draws from it is in trouble.

I know most of my readers don’t have access to this story from the Washington Post, “The Colorado River Is in Crisis, and It’s Getting Worse Every Day.” Just Google the Colorado River crisis and other stories will pop up.

What struck me about this particular article is people’s attitudes towards their own personal use of water — especially wealthy people.

This has to do with the watering of grass and other residential landscapes. Note, this is coming from a former gardener who sold the house and the garden just this year.

One of the things I had done over time was eliminate grass/my lawn. I was down to a patch I could mow in six minutes. Even in the Pacific Northwest where it has traditionally rained all the time, our summer water comes from the snowpack in the mountains. Last year it was about 150 percent of normal, this year it is down a bit.

People have trouble connecting their personal behaviors to the need for everyone to change due to climate change. If they have oodles of money, then they can afford the higher prices. They want the look of a lush lawn.

That is not going to be possible in most parts of California and other Western states in the coming months and years. The water crisis is real and it is not going to be getting better anytime soon.

Rather than fining people, I think you will have to just turn the water off! Some will even try to truck water in, which I’ve read about being done in the past by people with money.

I also think about the golf courses. They are going to be in real trouble too. Business as usual will not work in the future. Life, culture and hazards are all going to be changing — and we have to change with them.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.