In a desert climate, such as Tempe, Arizona, rain is sparse. At only 4.5 inches per year, it is a very dry place. The city gets water, nevertheless, as is demonstrated by the unusual amount of lawn-grown grass surrounding the suburban and urban sprawl. The question then is how? How do residents get the water for their lawns and swimming pools? For Tempe, the water comes from two places, the Central Arizona Project via the Colorado River and Tempe’s nearly depleted ground water.
● Population in The Valley will balloon from 4 million people to 6 million by 2030, and to 12 million by 2080;
● Outdoor water use (lawns and pools) currently account for over 58% of the total water use for this region;
● The Colorado River feeds many other populous areas, namely Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
According to this research, there are three concurrent trends related to water use:
- There is a predicted 33% population increase from baseline in less than 20 years;
- Only 42% of CAP water is used for human consumption and a large portion of that goes to farmland;
- Competition of valley urban planners and politicians to get a fair portion of water.
Coming from the Great Lakes basin, I have never really had to worry about fresh water supply, but here in Tempe, Arizona, I am. As of now, it isn’t. And the water is running out. always conscious about my water use. Unfortunately, however, many local residents couldn’t care less. To make matters worse, I haven’t really seen a huge effort for water conservation on the part of the architects. It should be the architects’ main priority to make water conscious buildings, and a desert is no exception.
What can be done to make people living in a desert, act like it? Why don’t they? If all the water dries up, who will they have to blame?
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.