The Times ran a story this weekend about proposals to be presented by the Bureau of Reclamation for shoring up water infrastructure in the Southwest. You’ll recall New York’s politicians have been arguing for infrastructure improvements to withstand the new pressures brought on by climate change.
As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo explained at a press conference in the wake of hurricane Sandy,
“Climate change is a controversial subject, right? People will debate whether there is climate change … that’s a whole political debate that I don’t want to get into. I want to talk about the frequency of extreme weather situations, which is not political … There’s only so long you can say, ‘This is once in a lifetime and it’s not going to happen again.’
Similarly, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, charged with managing the water resources of the Western United States, is also trying to plan ahead for the inevitable. Among the most urgent concerns is that climate predictions have the southeast suffering a decrease in the annual precipitation rate - a forecast made all the more alarming by the fact that the Colorado River is already struggling to serve the millions of Americans who rely on it for water.
So reportedly, one of the more extreme proposals being entertained by the Bureau of Reclamation is a water pipeline drawing from the Missouri River and running 600 miles to Colorado. The New York Times item stems from an earlier report by the Denver Post, and both explain that there is a forthcoming federal government study on water supply for the West with the Missouri pipeline being among the more radical of more than 100 proposals. I’ve been watching for the report but I don’t think it’s out yet. Let me know if you see it.
Whether the challenge is too much water or not enough of it, at least government officials are not blind to the new conditions of a changing climate.