The impending urban water crisis – Dream City – Salon.com

2 Apr

“When I talk to water utility people, one of the things I say to them is, ‘I bet most of you aren’t planning how to manage your water demands with 20 percent less than what you have now,’” says Charles Fishman, author of “The Big Thirst.” “If you don’t have a plan for that, you’re in trouble.”

You’ll find Fishman’s book in the nature section at Barnes & Noble, but it’s really about urban planning. Because the creeping hydro-crisis has nothing to do with “running out of water.” The earth has the same amount of water as it had 4 billion years ago, and it always will. “It’s all Tyrannosaurus rex pee,” says Fishman with a laugh. The water’s recycled endlessly through the clouds, but it’s the way we’ve built that’s made it seem scarce — with industry, farming and cities in places where there’s not enough water to support them, but still demanding more every year.

Luckily, an urban-planning problem can be mitigated with urban-planning solutions, and cities are blazing the trail — including, believe it or not, Sin City itself. Today, Vegas is soaked in “reclaimed water,” water that’s been used once and then purified for another go-round. It waters the golf courses and washes the thousands of hotel bed sheets. Even the pond at Treasure Island, where the nightly pirate-ship battles take place, is filled with water that the hotel’s guests have brushed their teeth with. (It gets run through a treatment plant under the casino.)

via The impending urban water crisis – Dream City – Salon.com.

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