I note that Arizona is cracking down hard on new residential and commercial construction, requiring any new development to have long-term water supplies in place before building permits will be issued. CNBC reports:
Water sources are dwindling across the Western United States and mounting restrictions on the Colorado River are affecting all sectors of the economy, including homebuilding. But amid a nationwide housing shortage, developers are bombarding Arizona with plans to build homes even as water shortages worsen.
. . .
Developers in the Phoenix area are required to get state certificates proving that they have 100 years’ worth of water supplies in the ground over which they’re building before they’re approved to construct any properties.
The megadrought has generated the driest two decades in the West in at least 1,200 years, and human-caused climate change has helped to fuel the conditions. Arizona has experienced cuts to its Colorado River water allocation and now must curb 21% of its water usage from the river, or roughly 592,000 acre-feet each year, an amount that would supply more than 2 million Arizona households annually.
There's more at the link.
At least one Arizona city is shutting off water to areas beyond its municipal boundaries due to the shortfall in supply. CNBC again:
An Arizona suburb has filed a lawsuit against the city of Scottsdale after the city cut off the community from its municipal water supply amid extreme drought conditions and declining water levels in the Colorado River.
In the lawsuit, filed Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court, residents in the unincorporated community of Rio Verde Foothills are seeking an injunction against Scottsdale to force the city to resume water services.
. . .
Scottsdale warned Rio Verde Foothills more than a year ago that the town’s water supply would be cut off as it faced projections of a historic drought and dwindling reservoir levels in the western U.S. Scottsdale said it must focus on water conservation for its own residents and would not continue to sell water to the roughly 500 homes in Rio Verde Foothills.
Earlier this month, hundreds of homes outside of Scottsdale could no longer access water from the city, leaving residents with no reliable source of water.
. . .
Scottsdale has said it would not work with any external companies to provide Rio Verde Foothills residents with water, arguing that it’s not legally obligated to continue providing water service to Rio Verde Foothills since the town lies beyond Scottsdale’s municipal boundaries.
Again, more at the link.
One wonders how many property purchasers in Rio Verde Foothills were informed of the water situation there before putting down their money? If they weren't, I foresee lawsuits ahead as they try to recover their now-suddenly-devalued investment.
California's in an even worse situation, but it's the state's own fault. For decades, no new major dams or water storage and treatment facilities have been built in the state. The result is that most of the water that fell in such over-abundance on that state over the past couple of weeks has been lost. The New York Times reports:
After a series of downpours over the past week dumped up to nine inches of rain on the San Gabriel Mountains, some 8.4 billion gallons were impounded behind 14 large dams, easing floods and building up valuable stores of water for the drier summer months ahead.
But in a state that is weathering a crippling, multiyear drought, much larger streams of water — estimated at tens of billions of gallons — have been rushing in recent days straight into the Pacific Ocean, a devastating conundrum for a state whose future depends on holding on to any drop it can.
. . .
The drought of the last few years has left reservoirs depleted across the state, burned forests, fallowed farm fields, brown urban lawns, barren ski slopes and disappearing lakes. The crisis on the Colorado River adds to the worries.
After years of deadly drought, images of floodwaters rushing into the ocean as people watch helplessly has been a cruel irony ... Capturing water in extreme events like those this year is a colossal engineering, environmental and financial challenge, experts say. Even with the planned improvements, water supplies are going to get tighter for major users: the environment, the public and agriculture.
“Everybody is going to lose something,” said Jay Lund, director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Mr. Lund estimates that up to 25 percent of agricultural land could go out of production.
Other western states are faced with the same problem. Las Vegas tried for more than three decades to take water from northern Nevada and southern Utah to feed its residents and tourist trade - which might have left a wasteland in those places as they lost the water they need to the demands of the big city. Only after intense, hard-fought opposition was the plan defeated. Meanwhile, the city has implemented some of the most stringent water restrictions in the nation, but it still needs more water, and is still looking to get it anywhere it can - even, if necessary, at the expense of other areas.
Many predict that water will be the proximate cause of open war in many parts of the world in future. See, for example, this BBC overview of the water situation around the world. It's going to be yet another point of conflict in our internal dissension and unrest in the USA. "Woke" cities are likely to demand more water to help provide for their residents, and in the process minimize dissatisfaction that might turn violent. The rural communities around them are likely to resist that, because they need their water for themselves, particularly for farming and food processing - without which cities will be in even more trouble.
Who's going to win? Your guess is as good as mine, right now. I can only suggest that if you live in a city or region where water is scarce, or likely to become a source of conflict, take that into account in your planning for the future. If you don't, still take it into account, because you don't want to move to such an area unless you have to.