Skip to main content

Video: Parched Southwest Tells 'the Story of Water'

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Be it frozen in snowpack, raining down from the skies or evaporating, water has always been a major issue in the southwestern United States. Now, with drought dragging on, especially in California, issues surrounding water supply and cleanliness have taken on a new urgency, as the recent award of $43 million to tribes in that region attest.

“The story of the Southwest is the story of water,” says Gregg Garfin, a convening lead author of that chapter in President Barack Obama’s National Climate Assessment. It would be so, he said, even without climate change. 

The announcement earlier this month that much of the annual money given to tribes by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Southwest was going toward water projects was in keeping with what the National Climate Assessment report released earlier this year has warned. Water is running out, its character is changing, and it is not going where it used to go, leaving residents of California and other states dry.

RELATED: EPA Grants to Drought-Stricken Southwest Tribes Total $43 Million

"We're noticing earlier snowmelt, earlier timing of runoff into streams,” says Garfin, in this video from The Story Group.

"The precipitation is releasing more and more as rain, more and more instead of snow,” says Guido Franco, another convening lead author of the Southwest chapter. “And that's an issue because snowpack is one of our main water reservoirs."

Watch the video below to learn more about the intricate web of water and how changes in its supply are already affecting everything from crops to urban areas.