Dust in the Wind

If people don’t want to live there, they won’t. If better jobs are available elsewhere because different states attract better businesses, so be it. That is how federalism works, and the US is better off for it. Sebastian Holsclaw

Sebastian reminds me of a topic that I have meant to address.

In the past three decades and the next three decades ten of millions of Americans are internally migrating to the southeast and southwest, and millions more external immigrants will settle there. So says the Census Bureau.

This hurts the rustbelt and the northeast perhaps, but that topic is for another time.

Here is the question:

What happens when we move ten of millions of people to areas where there are either chronic water shortage (the entire southwest) or major environmental impacts from development (Florida) and water shortages, and the supply systems start to go dry?

Both of these problems are already underway, and there is only the occasional media buzz, and certainly no serious policy discussion on restricting development (try Google if you doubt me).

The Colorado River is likely to be the scene of the first large scale battles, skirmishes have already broken out pitting ranchers versus townies(some of my family were Dustbowl Okies, and we know about water shortages and drought).

So, when Vegas has 5 million people and very little water, what happens next?

Someone will suggest a pipeline to the Great Lakes, which is probably not practical and certainly not environmentally friendly.

I know that addressing public policy issues in a 30 or 40 year time span is not easy, and is especially tough for politicians, but this problem is not going away.

And your thoughts…….?

PS: When I wrote this last evening I did not know what would be on the front page of the New York Times today – honest.