Water (or a potential lack thereof) is the one topic that all Arizonans can agree is of utmost importance both in the near and long-term futures. It is a subject that we have written about extensively and which you can read about here. The drought supercycle that we have endured has largely occurred without much in the way of true changes in lifestyle…until now.
In a bombshell new development, the Scottsdale city council unanimously voted to prohibit front lawns in newly built Scottsdale homes as of August 15th. While it will not impact existing homes nor backyards of new homes, it does represent the first major cutback to noticeably impact residents in a visually noticeable manner.
Ok, so perhaps this isn’t too big of an issue. After all, how many new-build single family homes are built in the city of Scottsdale these days? That says, it is likely the first shot across the bow as it pertains to infringing on the aesthetic sensibilities of Scottsdale residents. Is it reasonable? Absolutely. But will it sting? For those who want to keep up with the Joneses, probably.
Of course, if this was the only step and water availability went back to normal soon, this would clearly be a very reasonable short term solution that we could all deal with. And this year’s snowfall whose melt feeds into the Colorado River was very favorable this year, leading to a partial refilling of our reservoirs and a swelling of levels of hope for the future. That said, one year does not a trend make, and if this summer is an indicator for the future, more dry times may be ahead.
The clear and present danger is for the future, that if this year was simply an anomaly and the drought supercycle continues, that these cuts will simply be the start. Soon thereafter, water rationing for existing home landscaping may be on the agenda. Or golf courses going dry, which will almost certainly decrease tourism revenue. Then, higher taxes to make up that revenue shortfall. And perhaps, if the drought continues unabated, more draconian cuts to water usage.
By itself, is this a catastrophe? No, it’s a fairly common sense development and a consequence of living in a place where human beings were not naturally meant to exist. But the very real fear is that this is the first step of many, and a pivot point in the livability of our little slice of paradise. And while not a reason to panic, you’ll have to excuse us if we are not without very real concern.