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Old 01-06-2008, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,184 posts, read 67,327,076 times
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For several decades now the Sunbelt has been growing exponentially. Cities such as Atlanta, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson, Charlotte, and Dallas are all welcoming thousands of new residents into their boundaries each year and tens of thousands into their metropolitan areas each year. That might sound fine and dandy, but if these growth rates continue indefinitely into the future at least some of these cities will reach the point where potable water will become scarce. We've already seen a mix of an extreme drought coupled with poor long-range land usage policy giving folks in Greater Atlanta quite a scare in recent months as Lake Allatoona and Lake Lanier, the two main reservoirs in the area, have both reached record lows.

Thankfully heavy rains have moved in since then to mitigate the problems there somewhat, but before these rains came the metropolitan area only had under three months of drinking water remaining before they were tapped out. If the rains hadn't come and total reservoir depletion were to occur, what would have been done in Greater Atlanta? Folks in adjacent NC, SC, TN, and AL didn't want to give away any of their water because they were likewise in extreme drought. I believe there was a battle between GA and FL over jeopardizing Federally-protected clams in a Florida waterway in an effort to divert more water to Georgians. Folks here in the North are vehemently opposed to permitting the South to tap into our water supply because we don't want ourselves to be put at a higher risk of future water shortages simply to "bail out" those who choose to live in areas that were not intended to have enough potable water to quench the thirst of such large population concentrations.

What then will happen? I personally think the answer is to invest in a series of desalination plants along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Seaboard to turn salt water into fresh water for those living in the South with similar plants along the Southern California Coast to provide water to the Southwest. Yes, such plants and the desalination process itself is very expensive, but if other states don't want the South and Southwest stipping a large sipee straw into THEIR reservoirs, then this might be the only viable option.

What do others think?

Last edited by SteelCityRising; 01-06-2008 at 06:51 PM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:31 PM
 
28,905 posts, read 46,717,705 times
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Well, this is pretty much the worst drought in 100 years. I don't expect it to continue.

Alabama, for example, has more navigable lakes and rivers than any other state in the country. We're not running out of water anytime soon.

On the other hand, Atlanta needs to have better civic planning.
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,712,630 times
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What we call the "Sunbelt" is really two different regions-- the south and the southwest. While I'm sure one can come up with a list of things both regions have in common, the character of the two regions and the issues affecting them are different. Water is definitely a big issue-- and it's a major issue for the entire West, not just the southwest-- and it involves Mexico as well, since Mexico is legally entitled to a certain percentage of Colorado River water. Interestingly, a case where desalination plants are actually used is in Yuma/SW Arizona, where runoff from agriculture is desalinized so the water can then be used by Sonora, Mexico. Global climate change is going to have a major impact over how much water there is, especially the amount of snow accumulated in the Rocky Mountains (which most western cities rely on for their water supply). Water is a finite resource, but it's really about politics-- who gets what. Just a few weeks ago, an historic water agreement was signed between CA, NV, and AZ, revising an old agreement made in the 1920s about who gets what share of the Colorado River water.
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:51 PM
 
Location: IN
20,846 posts, read 35,937,611 times
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The sunbelt would be much less appealing if AC was never invented!
However, I predict water shortages will continue to become a much bigger problem with the increases in population in the SW along with global climate change as well.
I think more people could move back to areas of the Great Lakes and Northeast if the climate continues to heat up even more in the SW over time along with water concerns.
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Old 01-06-2008, 06:51 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,184 posts, read 67,327,076 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plains10 View Post
I think more people could move back to areas of the Northeast if the climate continues to heat up even more in the SW over time along with water concerns.
Even Scranton??!!
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Old 01-06-2008, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Underneath the Pecan Tree
15,989 posts, read 30,671,383 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plains10 View Post
The sunbelt would be much less appealing if AC was never invented!
However, I predict water shortages will continue to become a much bigger problem with the increases in population in the SW along with global climate change as well.
I think more people could move back to areas of the Great Lakes and Northeast if the climate continues to heat up even more in the SW over time along with water concerns.
Wtf! Here in Texas, we had like one of our coolest summers this summer!
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:25 AM
 
552 posts, read 982,422 times
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I think we'll take your water when it comes to that point. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:36 AM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,166,824 times
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Hmm...I think all of this region-ruining water shortages are mostly wishful thinking from our Northern friends. I can understand a certain level of resentment from the Northeast and the Midwest since the sunbelt is now enjoying its time in the "sun". I mean, the Northeast and MW dominated the nation all of last century and now you have competition.

That said, I do think a lack of water will be a problem in the southwest, but not so much in the Southeast. This problem in Atlanta is only do to ****-poor civic planning combined with record droughts. The Southeast has plenty of water.

I predict the sunbelt as a whole will continue to gain influence but the SE will improve more than the SW. You might see some Northern states even lose a seat or two in the House . I think suburban growth will start to wane (it already has in many areas) but many urban areas will increase in density.
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Old 01-07-2008, 12:40 AM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,166,824 times
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I noticed someone posted that climate change will see people leave the Sw and move to the Mw. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think temperatures are predicted to rise less than 2 degrees this century. Of course, this is alarming as a long-term event but It will have no influence on Americans moving habits.
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:41 AM
 
Location: IN
20,846 posts, read 35,937,611 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jluke65780 View Post
Wtf! Here in Texas, we had like one of our coolest summers this summer!
I was referencing the southwest. Will people really continue to keep moving to metro areas like Phoenix when the urban heat island there keeps expanding due to the suburban sprawl?
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