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America's West Faces A Megadrought. What's The Solution?

Trees stretch across a farm in Corrales, New Mexico, as snow covers the Sandia Mountains in the background. Much of the West is mired in drought, with New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah being among the hardest hit. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Trees stretch across a farm in Corrales, New Mexico, as snow covers the Sandia Mountains in the background. Much of the West is mired in drought, with New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah being among the hardest hit. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

This rebroadcast originally aired on March 18, 2021. 


The western U.S. is no stranger to drought. But this isn’t any dry spell. More than 70% of the West is exceptionally parched. Could it be a permanent change?

Guests

Brad Udall, senior water and climate research scientist at Colorado State University and the Colorado Water Institute. (@bradudall)

Colby Pellegrino, deputy general manager of resources for the Las Vegas Valley Water District and the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Also Featured

Kenyon Fields and Mary Conover, owners of Mountain Island Ranch in Colorado and Utah.


More from WBUR


From The Reading List

Wall Street Journal: “Record Drought Strains the Southwest” — “For the first time ever, rancher Jimmie Hughes saw all 15 of the ponds he keeps for his cattle dry up at the same time this year.”

Las Vegas Sun: “Study: American Southwest faces a ‘megadrought,’ the region’s worst in centuries” — “The American Southwest is in the midst of a climate-change-fueled megadrought dryer than anything the region has seen in the last five centuries, according to a new study.”

The NM Political Report: “New Mexico’s coming megadrought highlights farmers’ control of water” — “High above south-central New Mexico, satellite imagery shows a brown sea in arid Socorro County, broken up only by the Rio Grande, which splits the county and the state down the middle. Here in the northern reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert, it rains maybe 10 inches annually and the sun shines brightly 280 days a year.”

Vox: “The megadrought parching 77 percent of the Western US, explained” — “The Western US is in the midst of yet another dangerous dry spell. The drought has been building over the past year, and since November, a greater stretch of the West has been in the most severe category of drought than at any time in the 20 years that the National Drought Mitigation Center has been keeping records.”

USA Today: “Persistent dryness in the West is exacerbating region’s ‘megadrought’” — “Much of the western U.S. continues to endure a long-term drought, one that threatens the region’s water supplies and agriculture and could worsen wildfires this year.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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