An Arizona State University press release described the words “enormous uncertainty” as being greatly applicable to the current condition of Phoenix’s climate and water supply. Reservoirs have dropped to their lowest ever levels, drought has continuously plagued the state, and the forecasts suggest that the temperatures are only going to continue to rise.
However professors from Arizona State claim there is no need to panic.
Positive impacts can be made, say ASU professors Patricia Gober and Craig Kirkwood, who published results of an assessment on the climate’s effect on water shortage in Phoenix in the December 14 edition of the Online Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The pair simulated the long-term consequences of policies that manage groundwater, including population growth, increased development, outdoor landscaping, and outdoor pools. The simulation, called WaterSim, lays out the science surrounding the issue, rather than, as Gober noted, preaching an agenda.
“If you make this set of choices then you can continue to have a vibrant city even under dire climate conditions. We have a smorgasbord of choices,” Gober said. “You pick the menu items that are going to work best for your community.”
The paper points out several solutions that people can do, such as changing the type of landscape they have, limiting the number of pools in a community, building a higher density city, and investing money to fix water leaks.
Gober, who also studies the relationship between energy and water in relation to the urban heat island, said, “just because we don’t know what’s going to happen with the climate, doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t do anything.”