A couple of stories from last week about water in Texas--that is, the looming and troubling issue of how Texas is going to find enough water for all its people and industry. In the print edition, I argue that this year's drought, as bad as it is, points to the fact that the biggest water problem is structural: growing demand and dwindling supplies. At Democracy in America, I argue that water is so important it means some of the usual political divides are not so much bridged as moot.

On Twitter, someone asks whether water issues mean that the trend of internal migration of the American southwest can't be continued. I had actually been mulling a variation of that question yesterday afternoon as I drove from tornado-stricken Oklahoma to drought-ravaged Texas: at some point, are people going to start prioritizing weather-proof places? It seems like they would do, but I suppose the issue is that bad weather is somewhat subjective: people in Houston dodge the extreme winters of Chicagoans, but Chicago doesn't deal with the horrible summers or occasional hurricane; San Franciscans get a temperate climate at the cost of some running anxiety about earthquakes. I can imagine water being a constraint on population growth in the southwest, but it might not be obvious that water is the issue. What we might see is that constrained access to water limits industry--agriculture relocates, or manufacturing becomes more expensive. That would weaken the pull of the jobs magnet.

 


Chris P
11/12/2011 13:48

Great work, Erica! Keep it up!

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