The drought in US south-west is the worst in 1,200 years. It might be here to stay | Kim Heacox

The drought in US south-west is the worst in 1,200 years. It might be here to stay | Kim Heacox

Utah’s Governor Spencer Cox has asked his constituents to pray for rain. Unfortunately, that won’t help

If water is the lifeblood of planet Earth, the American south-west is in big trouble.

John Wesley Powell, the one-armed US army civil war veteran who led the first white expedition down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon – a daring boat run in 1869 – later became an ethnographer who wrote a prescient 1878 government paper titled: Report on the Lands of the Arid Regions of the United States. In it, he unflinchingly described the scarcity of water, and summarized that much of the American south-west, if it must be settled, should be settled lightly and modestly. Overpopulate it, and it will be unforgiving.

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