We live in a desert. We all know that water is at a premium here, and yet your average Arizonan uses as much water as they need with little thought of minimizing usage. That will soon change for Scottsdale though, as the city is now asking residents to reduce their usage by 5%.
Interestingly enough, this makes Scottsdale the first city in Arizona to make such a request from its residents. That said, on further thought this makes sense. According to the city, 70% of its water use it outdoors, of which a considerable amount is likely used on the number of golf courses in town, as well as a proclivity towards very well maintained lawns compared to other parts of Arizona.
We have already spoken about the significant drought problems that have been plaguing much of the southwest, as well as more specifically in Scottsdale due to the Stage 1 drought announcement. Lake Mead, the major source of water for much of the area, has been at historical lows all year, with levels so low that they imperil hydroelectric power production in the area, bringing up a potential cascade of additional issues.
A Stage 1 drought announcement is by nature voluntary, an ask from government. A Stage 2 announcement will bring with it more muscle, when more restrictions and mandatory limitations may be in play. Essentially, we will ask you politely this time, with the hopes that we won’t have to ask you a second time, because the next time it will not be an ask, it will be an order.
We have long lived like we don’t live in a desert, and I believe that most Scottsdalians knew that at some point that had to end. Unfortunately, that time is accelerating. We would like to believe in the collective understanding of the common good, of coming together for what’s best for everyone. That would be ideal, but we find it hard to see any outcome that doesn’t involve us living like we always have, and changing our behavior only when absolutely necessary after prolonged kicking and screaming. And that’s unfortunate.