I ran across an interesting article in National Geographic today discussing the changes that farmers in California and the West are starting to make in response to the continuing drought conditions there and the prospect for less water in the future as groundwater becomes more regulated and harder to access as water levels drop.  Some producers are adapting by letting part of their land lie fallow or switching to crops that need less water, like prickly pear cactus for the production of nopales for the Hispanic market.  Others are switching to less water-intensive crops.  There is even talk of moving water-intensive dairy to other parts of the country where lack of water is less of a barrier.  The story is called “When the Snows Fail” and is accompanied (as you might expect) by some terrific photos. and a companion visual piece on “Draining California.”

Meanwhile, the El Paso TX Times ran a story this week on novel methods they are using to eliminate their use of surface water from the Rio Grande River by reuse of recycled treated water coming out of their four wastewater plants.  A study commissioned by the water utility found that 84 percent of residents were receptive to the reuse of waste water, particularly as they become more susceptible to severe droughts after years of relatively high water levels.