NASA is now predicting a “megadrought” as early as 2050 that might last 30 or more years and devastate the Southwest and Central Plains, worse than anything in the last 1000 years.
This is mere speculation at this point but could be a very imposing reality if things follow their current trajectory.
If such drastic climate changes take place, those managing water systems and supplies need to come up with some radical new ideas and innovations to cope with it.
It never hurts to be prepared and to consider future possibilities.
The Washington Post addresses the problem in it’s article “6 innovations to cope with the threat of a megadrought“:
“The low-hanging fruit when it comes to water innovation is simply making the entire system of bringing water from source to market more efficient and effective. One way to manage and conserve water better is to hook up America’s water infrastructure to the Internet and enable real-time monitoring via sensors. Pipes, wells, treatment plants, just about anything can become smarter once it’s hooked up to the Internet. Loss management and loss detection then becomes much easier…
…Some of the ideas for dealing with droughts, admittedly, sound like something out of a science fiction movie – flooding Death Valley with seawater via a canal from the Pacific Ocean or wrapping Greenland with blankets to capture freshwater ice. Yet, there are some examples, such as China’s massive “grand canals,” that hint at how massive changes to the Earth may be the ultimate Hail Mary pass to bring water to parched regions.”
Other ideas include desalinization, recycling water (from wastewater), and altering the weather artificially.
Any way you look at it, water utilities infrastructure management of the future may look very different than today, and thinking ahead for extreme situations is a productive exercise.
If your water demand is going up and your access to available water sources is going down then clearly at some stage there is going to be a problem.
By taking a medium to long-term look at this issue, a range of asset and non-asset solutions can be considered and debated, then the mix of programs that work for your community and authority can be implemented.