by Alex Wilson
Periodic drought is something that a significant portion of the U.S. will have to get used to in the coming decades. Climate scientists tell us that while precipitation will increase overall with climate change, certain regions, including the American West, will see increased frequency of drought.
I certainly saw that last year, when I spent six weeks bicycling through the Southwest, from San Diego to Houston. Most of the 1,900 miles I covered had seen barely a drop of rain since the previous fall. Statewide, Texas had an average of just 15 inches of rain in 2011--barely half of the typical rainfall.
Ironically, drought sometimes exacerbates water shortages in other ways. Wildfires in Lubbock, Texas last June knocked out 20% of the city's crucial water wells, reducing the city's water supply by nine million gallons per day for two weeks. Then in July, shrinking clay soils in Fort Worth, Texas resulted in more than 200 breaks in water mains, spilling precious water into the ground. Austin suffered similar problems as did other communities throughout the state that was suffering from the worst drought on record. As we think of adaptation to climate change and resilience, dealing with water has to be a part of our focus. In this blog I'll cover how to improve the efficiency with which we use water and measures to ensuring access to water during shortages.
The rest of this article addresses: Use water efficiently; Relying on a spring on a hill; On-site water storage; Rainwater harvesting
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