Meet Arizona’s water one-percenters
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Every two weeks, Dawn Upton floods her lawn. She treks into her back yard, twists open two valves big as dinner plates, and within minutes is ankle-deep in water.
“You have to have irrigation boots, girl,” she says during a video tour of her property in Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. She flips her camera to reveal green grass, then tilts her phone skyward at four towering palm trees. As she walks, she pans across pecan, pomegranate, and citrus trees – lemon, orange, a grapefruit sapling. A tortoise, between 80 and 100lb, lumbers toward her, chewing. “There’s Simba,” Upton says. “Hey buddy! What is that, Simba? You can’t eat it.” She pats him affectionately on the head.
Upton is among a handful of homeowners – by one accounting, just 1% – of metro Phoenix’s 4.4 million people to receive flood irrigation. The Salt River Project, the area’s largest supplier of such water, delivered almost 60,000 acre-feet of water to that small number of residents in 2019, or 7.5% of the water it delivered that year to all customers combined.
In that same year, the Salt River Project sent 36,003 acre-feet to Phoenix-area schools, parks, golf courses and churches (and 63,500 acre-feet to farmers – another story entirely) to irrigate trees and turf.
Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair - Mariame Kaba
April 8, 2021 at 6:22 PM #415754HassleCatParticipant
- Total Posts: 6,366
No more grass lawns. All homes will have vegetation that can survive the local climate without watering. No more golf courses. If you want to golf, vacation in Georgia. No more growing alfalfa in the desert. All we have been doing is tinkering around the edges of the problem. California, for example, fines people for not having low-flush toilets, but allow millions of gallons to evaporate from swimming pools that are largely decorative status symbols. Time for an analogy. The paramedics pull you from the burning wreckage of your car, but they’re so intent in fixing that little boo-boo on your pinky that they fail to notice blood gushing from your femoral artery. You die.
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