Will the Valley be able to meet the needs of an additional million people by 2050?
Parts of our state are already struggling with water supplies, temperatures are rising. So can we handle a million more people?
PHOENIX – Recent studies estimate that the valley will add more than a million people over the next few decades, but can we support them?
Lake Mead narrows, as does Arizona’s allotment from the Colorado River. The latest screenings indicate that we could see more than 130 days over 100 degrees by 2040 and more than half of the three-digit year by the end of this century.
“There is no doubt that Arizona will be habitable,” said Katherine Jacobs, professor of environmental science at the University of Arizona. “I think it’s if you want to live that way.”
Jacobs said Arizona isn’t headed for an uninhabitable wasteland. However, with the increase in temperature and the decrease in water supply, life will be unpleasant, more expensive and less convenient.
“There is no doubt that the way water is used today is not the same as it will be in 2050,” Jacobs said.
Changes probably start with water. Jacobs thinks more regulations are needed to determine who can use the water and when. This could mean restricting the amount of water the agricultural industry could use or restricting the use of water for pleasure.
“We can very well change the trajectory of what our future looks like,” Jacobs said.
Ultimately, Jacobs said the choices we make will determine our future in The Valley. Jacobs says the state needs to move more towards renewable energy to reduce the carbon warming of our planet.
Jacobs said small tweaks to our daily lives can make a difference.
“We all make many choices, from what we eat or drink during the day to where we set our thermostat that affects the future of the planet.”
READ: What will the Valley look like in 2040? the answer might surprise you
In our ‘Boomtown’ series, 12News looks at the valley’s explosive growth over the past few decades, the consequences that have come with it and a glimpse of what it all means for our future as more than 1.5 million people would have to move. the Valley by 2040.