Friday, March 29, 2013

Collapsing Phoenix

This is the best catastrophe piece I have read in an ostensibly non-apocalyptic venue for some time.  There is a longish introduction that notes the comparison to one of collapsed empire pieces, Chaco Canyon.

Phoenix in the Climate Crosshairs
William DeBuys, as part of a Tomgram Piece, 14 March 2013
If cities were stocks, you’d want to short Phoenix.
Of course, it’s an easy city to pick on. The nation’s 13th largest metropolitan area (nudging out Detroit) crams 4.3 million people into a low bowl in a hot desert, where horrific heat waves and windstorms visit it regularly. It snuggles next to the nation’s largest nuclear plant and, having exhausted local sources, it depends on an improbable infrastructure to suck water from the distant (and dwindling) Colorado River.
In Phoenix, you don’t ask: What could go wrong? You ask: What couldn’t?
This is just the introduction, there is too much fine collapsing apocalyptic visionary logic of the real world type, for me to get too much into the details.  I have heard some similar tales about Tucson, but I gather Phoenix is deeper in the weeds.
Note that this Phoenix also once had a much wetter climate.


Francis Lee said...

I hear Nevada has a similar problem.

russell1200 said...

Francis: They both get their water from the Colorado. Nevada is upstream closer to the source. I don't think they had issues until the drought. Phoenix, and Tucson AZ were having issues even before that.