Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A Great AridnessClimate Change and the Future of the American Southwest$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

William deBuys

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199778928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199778928.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 June 2021

The Canal at River’s End: Thirsty Arizona

The Canal at River’s End: Thirsty Arizona

Chapter:
6 The Canal at River’s End: Thirsty Arizona
Source:
A Great Aridness
Author(s):

William deBuys

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199778928.003.0011

“ If you run the math,” says Brad Udall, “You sort of go, wow, Arizona, they may be totally out of their Central Arizona Project water.” Udall is referring to Arizona’s unenviable position as California’s aquatic whipping boy. The two states have long fought over water, and although Arizona has won a battle or two, it has taken a beating in the war. A key result of their combat has been to make the majority of Arizona’s Colorado River water rights expressly junior to California’s. This means that during inevitable and possibly imminent periods of shortage, the people of southern California, under a strict interpretation of the law, will be able to wash their cars, water their lawns, and keep their showers streaming while the millions who live in Phoenix, Tucson, and points between watch the flow from their taps slow to a dribble. Fortunately, events are unlikely to turn out so apocalyptically. When crisis comes, emergency negotiations will produce a less black-and-white outcome, and Arizona’s groundwater reserves (some of them recharged in recent years with CAP water) will be tapped to meet priority needs—at least for a time. Nevertheless, the potential for a winner-take-all showdown between large populations highlights the vulnerability of the urban centers of the arid West in an era of climate change. Fates are hardly fixed. How the cities of the region grow and change in the years ahead will significantly determine their ability to withstand the shocks of a hotter and drier future. How well they respond to the challenges ahead will also determine the future of their states and of the entire West, for in an arid land, a modern society is obliged to be an urban society. The survival of aridland cities and the struggle to preserve their quality of life will become a matter of national concern, even obsession, and the entire world will watch their stories unfold. Arizona has always been jealous of California’s economic power, its political heft in Congress, and its early and abundant claims to Colorado River water.

Keywords:   Boulder Canyon Project Act, Dust Bowl, Gila River, Imperial Valley, Prior Appropriation, Sunbelt, Upper Basin, augmentation, desalination, reservoirs

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .