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Rethinking water use in China and the West

Water availability has always been a key factor in determining where people live and what they grow.   As populations grow and temperature patterns change, demand for water for both drinking and agriculture is expected to grow.  Here are some stories related to this topic I’ve seen over the last few weeks which point out the problems of water use both in the US and abroad.

Over 65% of all water used in China is for agriculture.  Water scarcity is expected to be one of their biggest threats to their survival in the future.  Yahoo News had a story about their plans to improve irrigation, which is poorly managed at present, and improve water conservation at http://news.yahoo.com/chinas-struggle-water-security-033157466.html.

National Public Radio had a story recently pointing out that water problems in the West are not confined to California.  They pointed out that the Colorado River basin is also in the throes of a severe water shortage, which could affect agricultural production and water use not only in Arizona and Nevada, but also in southern California, which depends on that water for irrigation.  You can read and listen to the story here.

The New York Times noted that this may be the end of a wet period in California’s climate.  They point out that there have been long droughts in the Southwest in the past by looking at lake sediments at Lake Mono and that a return to drier conditions is more likely in the future as the climate continues to trend warmer.  The story can be found here.

Source: Commons Wikimedia

Source: Commons Wikimedia