Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Our Waterless Future


Eric Holthaus interviews the mayor of Tucson, Arizona on the challenges facing the Southwest and how climate change could affect land use in desert regions:

Slate:What are the biggest challenges in creating a 21st-century water policy in Tucson? Is private industry showing resistance? Could climate change lay your best plans to waste?

Rothschild: I think the two biggest challenges are still education and technology. We’re spending $3 million a year in conservation education programs. We've got people in our schools, talking to our elementary kids all the time.

On technology, we won’t be able to solve this problem without more work. But what are those technologies going to be? We recently received an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant, where they sent eight of their top engineers out here to work with us to help make our city more efficient. Part of their solution was improved meters that can be read in real time and can be monitored in real time. If there's a water leak, you don't have to wait 30 days to catch it when it shows up on your bill. I can't even imagine what the next technologies are going to be. Tucson has the ability to hopefully lead in developing water technologies for people around the world going through the same issues.

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