Wrong, Washington Post, Climate Change Is Not Driving ‘Arizona’s Water Troubles’

Originally posted at Climate Realism

On June 4, 2023, The Washington Post (WaPo) published a story titled “Arizona’s water troubles show how climate change is reshaping the West.” The claim that climate change is the driver behind water issues in the Western United States is false. It ignores the historical context of water issues that go back decades, the impact of population growth and development, and the current status of drought in the region.

In the article, WaPo make these claims:

The decision by Arizona in the past week to limit residential construction in some parts of the fast-growing Phoenix suburbs is another major warning about how climate change is disrupting lifestyles and economies in the West. Throughout the region, glaciers have receded, wildfires have expanded, rivers and lakes have shrunk. It has been a wet winter, but the deeper trends brought on by the warming atmosphere persist.

In one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country, it’s a boom time — water-intensive microchip companies and data centers moving in; tens of thousands of houses spreading deep into the desert. But it is also a time of crisis: Climate change is drying up the American West and putting fundamental resources at ever greater risk.

Drought has been common in Arizona throughout history, it lying in one of the most arid parts of North America. Still there is almost no drought there now. Apparently, WaPo was unable to examine the latest data on drought for the region. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most of Arizona is not currently in a drought at all, as seen in the screen capture below:

The WaPo also downplays the largest single cause for water shortfalls in Arizona – population growth. First, population growth creates warmer temperatures (due to the Urban Heat Island effect) which often erroneously get blamed on climate change. For example, Figure 1 compares the July average temperature in Phoenix to Phoenix’s population growth for the same period. Note that the purple 1960 marker shows when growth really exploded in Phoenix, while at the same time, that is when temperatures really started climbing.

Figure 1. July average temperature vs. population growth for the Phoenix area. Source: National Weather Service, Phoenix, AZ and Datawrapper.

Even more important than Phoenix’s growing population’s effect on temperatures is its direct impact on water use. More people demand more water for all uses. Phoenix and Arizona as a whole are located in one of the most naturally arid regions on the North American continent. Water was already scarce before Phoenix became one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the United States. In addition to groundwater pumping, Phoenix makes heavy use of Colorado river water via the Lake Mead reservoir. Just last year, there was this headline: Phoenix agrees to leave additional water in Lake Mead in effort to slow reservoir’s decline. In Climate at a Glance: Water Levels – Lake Mead, the root cause of water supply issues is revealed:

[D]uring the past century, much of the continental United States has enjoyed more abundant precipitation as the planet has warmed. Further, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed that since 1951 there has been an increase in precipitation in mid-latitude global regions, including the United States, with no detected global precipitation decline. It is also important to note the Lake Mead reservoir serves water to Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Every one of those states has experienced significant population increases and greater water demands since the reservoir was filled in 1935, an important factor when considering Lake Mead’s water levels.

In fact, as shown in Figure 2, water withdrawals due to population growth has actually exceeded the available supply with some regularity for the past 30 years.

Figure 2: Water availability and use in the Colorado River basin Over the past century, consumptive water uses in the basin increased steadily, to the point that annual consumption exceeded total river flows in 75% of years from 2000–2015. This over consumption has dried the river at its delta in Mexico and progressively depleted major storage reservoirs in the basin, including Lake Mead, posing severe risk of water shortage. All variables are portrayed as three-year running averages. Data source: US Bureau of Reclamation via ReseachGate.

Population increases in an arid region, not climate change, is the cause of Arizona’s current water woes. The WaPo completely misses this fact, instead exploiting Arizona’s water problems to push the climate crisis narrative in which each and every bad thing in the world is blamed on climate change, even when the facts say otherwise. This lack of investigative journalistic honesty has become commonplace at the WaPo, where apparently “Science Dies in Darkness.”

Anthony Watts

Anthony Watts is a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute. Watts has been in the weather business both in front of, and behind the camera as an on-air television meteorologist since 1978, and currently does daily radio forecasts. He has created weather graphics presentation systems for television, specialized weather instrumentation, as well as co-authored peer-reviewed papers on climate issues. He operates the most viewed website in the world on climate, the award-winning website wattsupwiththat.com.

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Richard Page
June 11, 2023 10:20 am

Needs more reservoirs. We’ve seen story after story around the world of increased population and water usage depleting the available water supply and still no-one has built the reservoir capacity to keep pace with that population. Am I right in thinking that 1935, with lake Mead, was the last time a reservoir was created in Arizona?

Reply to  Richard Page
June 11, 2023 10:33 am

The problem is lack of rain fall to fill the Reservoirs and California not retaining the water they receive. Colorado river water is cheap and in place where as new dams are expensive and interfere with the natural flow of the rivers (environmental input again). They are tearing out some of the old dams but they have added a very large new one in Southern California. The Delta Smelt has resulted in a good deal of water being wasted.
Actually the Glen Canyon Dam with Lake Powell was the last large dam.
Phoenix is is handled by the Salt river system.
The Colorado river systems is
We also use ground water but that is limited and must be replenished. Few yards have grass and our Nuclear Power plant runs on recycled water.

Richard Page
Reply to  Dena
June 11, 2023 11:19 am

There was an article here on WUWT not that long ago that showed that the average rainfall around lake Mead hasn’t fallen much at all so lack of rainfall is not the answer in Arizona.
If there isn’t a problem with Arizona’s rainfall and there is adequate reservoir systems, then where is the water disappearing to?

Richard Page
Reply to  Richard Page
June 11, 2023 11:56 am

I was also interested in a study that showed that, despite groundwater conservation laws in place, Arizona is still overpumping groundwater and not replacing the extracted water. Aquifers in Arizona are still being depleted at an unsustainable and alarming rate.

Reply to  Richard Page
June 11, 2023 1:04 pm

Ground water was unregulated for a long time but they have become more careful with it. Our excess Colorado river water restored some of the ground water and new wells need approval. In some places the ground water has recovered a bit because of careful management. Far more work remains to be completed but being aware of the problem is part of the solution.

Writing Observer
Reply to  Dena
June 11, 2023 6:16 pm

EXCEPT on the Reservations, and the mines. THOSE were left out of the agreement that brought CAP water south.

In any case, the water table should ONLY be recharged when there is EXCESS water coming through the watershed.

Reply to  Richard Page
June 11, 2023 12:43 pm

Average is average. We have had a couple of really dry years but this year is making up for it. The big problem is overdrawing the system. When I first came to Phoenix the population was about a million. We are now probably about 5 times that. California with senior rights is reluctant to cut back on their usage of the Colorado. They even want to maintain the Salton sea which didn’t exist until twentieth century. Fortunately they haven’t started that project yet. If you go to Los Angles, you will see green lawns all over the place.
The south west has a history of wet and dry periods. Arizona had many indian settlements before europeans came here but they vanished leaving only runes. I suspect it was the result of a long term climate shift, maybe the little ice age that made farming difficult.
In short, we have a saying. Whisky is for drinking, water is for fighting over.

Richard Page
Reply to  Dena
June 11, 2023 1:54 pm

Thanks Dena. I didn’t understand all of the twists in this story until you explained some of the more pressing issues. I think I understand a bit more about it, certainly to realise my remark about more reservoirs was plain wrong. I also see why, if California won’t help, desalination on the Mexican coast and a pipeline to Arizona would be a drastic, but logical choice.

Reply to  Richard Page
June 11, 2023 4:00 pm

When on the average you receive about 7 inches of rain a year, it’s really different than other parts of the country. The original Salt River system would keep Phoenix in water for 7 years without any rain. With the population increase, that is no longer the case. The people who originally constructed our dam system understood this and did the best they could for the future though the dams were originally intended to generate power and not so much for water. Now they do both.
One other issue is that we are running out of places to construct dams. A few we constructed weren’t exactly the best. Glen Canyon destroyed some natural beauty when it filled. A few other were constructed before conservation was much of a thing.
For fun, you can look at the Salt River table and you will find the dams are pretty high and most of the elevation change already has dams in place. Rosevelt is about 2,100 feet when full and Phoenix is between 1,200 and 1,300 feet high depending on where you measure. Granite Reef would be a bit higher because that holds and distributes the water around the valley. Granite Reef doesn’t really store water and is designed to be topped during flood conditions.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Dena
June 11, 2023 6:37 pm

The Salt River system is 98% full this year, last year at this time it was at 68. Water flowed over Granite Reef dam this year for I believe close to two months. We also had water flowing in Gila river this year also, it has been a few years for both. The are trying to enlarge Bartlett Dam due to the lost storage from Horseshoe silting up. Most reservoirs in Arizona not on the Colorado are now near full. Lastly we do not need to go to the ocean for desalination plants, there is plenty of salt water below us, only deep wells and nuclear power plants to make it viable.

Reply to  Mark Luhman
June 11, 2023 7:46 pm

I am very much aware of the water flow over Granite Reef. The salt river is right next to our rental property and that is very near the 67th avenue river crossing. Some of our property is a little below the flood plane so we are careful what we do with it. Running around I often cross the salt at the western end of the 202 loop and admire the wet salt river. Not often you see that.
Any well will eventually run dry if you overdraw it so unless your careful, a well is a short term solution. We fell into that trap once and we don’t want to again.
By the way, are you aware that we already have a salt mine in the area? It’s a Morton plant located in Glendale.

Reply to  Richard Page
June 11, 2023 2:55 pm

Where is the water disappearing to, you ask? It is going to the homes, businesses, and golf courses that have sprung up in desert areas across the west. All that is true, from the mountains of Wyoming, Colorado and Utah that make up the headwaters of the Colorado River, to California, which holds the most senior water rights in the basin. Even with average rainfall, there just isn’t enough water to meet the demands of the millions of people who want to live, work and play in the desert southwest. It is as simple as that.

Writing Observer
Reply to  starzmom
June 11, 2023 6:22 pm

In Arizona, at least, those golf courses (and things like the lakes in parks and developments) are required to use reclaimed waste water. Which had its problems at first, until they figured out the appropriate way to treat it so that it didn’t still have the properties of almost raw sewage.

Reply to  Writing Observer
June 12, 2023 4:46 am

See my comment below about Wichita Falls, Texas.

Writing Observer
Reply to  Richard Page
June 11, 2023 6:19 pm

It’s not so much the rain right around the lake – it’s the rainfall upstream that determines the water coming into the lake. Very little of the watershed for Lake Mead is even in Arizona (or Nevada) – most of it is in Colorado.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Writing Observer
June 11, 2023 6:42 pm

A good chunk is in Utah that also where Lake Powell is also which is above Mead and get most the water from Colorado first, the main problem is Utah is a desert state also. One Silver lining is Utah got record snows this year.

Reply to  Writing Observer
June 12, 2023 4:47 am

The headwaters of the Green River are in Wyoming and Idaho. This is a main tributary of the Colorado. Many states are upstream of the senior water rights holders.

Writing Observer
Reply to  Richard Page
June 11, 2023 6:13 pm

No, the Glen Canyon Dam, which created Lake Powell, was finished in the mid-1960s.

Actually, Arizona has the reservoir capacity (except in major flood years) to retain every bit of water that comes from the watersheds that feed into it. The problems are pretty much due to “environmental” garbage and California parasitism. For instance, every year, the CAP water that comes to Tucson is pumped into the ground to “recharge the water table.” Which should ONLY be done when there is EXCESS water available.

California is a parasite State, and has been for many years now. If Moonbat Brown had just implemented the plan left to him by his father, they too would be able to retain every bit of water from their watersheds (again, excepting major flood years). But they do not. They parasitize the Colorado River watershed instead. Also the hydroelectric, nuclear, and fossil fuel generated electricity from out of State. Oil, too. Now, they are concocting schemes to leech off of the people that escape their dystopia – taxing their former resident’s income in another State.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Writing Observer
June 11, 2023 6:44 pm

“taxing their former resident’s income in another State” which won’t fly that been tried in the past and every time it crashes and burns in the courts.

Ron Long
June 11, 2023 10:37 am

What? “…glaciers have receded…”. I worked one August day in one of the canyons extending north from Phoenix, when it was 116 deg F in Phoenix. Glaciers? If there were actually glaciers you could sell house lots on them. Go get them, Anthony (the CAGW idiots, not lots on glaciers!).

Rich Davis
Reply to  Ron Long
June 12, 2023 1:59 am

Glaciers have receded…somewhere in the West…sometime since the end of the Little Ice Age. With careful ambiguity almost any lie can be implied with impunity.

Walter Sobchak
June 11, 2023 10:39 am

Anthony. Spot on. Further, water problems can be solved — with technology.

Israel has done it in an arid environment rather like Arizona. “Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World” by Seth M. Siegel, (2017) https://www.amazon.com/Let-There-Be-Water-Water-Starved/dp/1250115566/

Sadly, you can count on the enviroloons and watermelons to fight the use of technology tooth and nail. As in Southern California where they have stoutly and successfully fought desalination for years on the grounds that a desalination plant will dump salt water into the ocean.

These are people who do want to solve problems; they want to be problems.

We will not be able to solve environmental problems until the last lawyer is strangled with the entrails of the last lawyer.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
June 11, 2023 12:51 pm

We have looked at desalination but it needs to be built in Mexico and the output pumped about 200 miles and lifted over one thousand feet. We might do a trade where we build one in California for a share of their water however it’s unlikely they will have the power available to operate it. We have been dealing with this issue for many years. Our best bet is to look for additional ways to conserve water and get a fair share of the Colorado.

Reply to  Dena
June 11, 2023 4:56 pm

On the contrary,this issue has not been dealt with for many years. Too many people and organizations have prevented the sensible solutions and now the entire area will suffer.

Writing Observer
Reply to  Dena
June 11, 2023 6:38 pm

With a bit of engineering work, much of the desalination technology can be applied to completely processing waste water. Best estimates are that this would increase the potable water supply by between 50% and 70%.

Since it doesn’t have to be a 24/7 process, the vast majority of the heat required can be completely solar. In fact, even if we can’t detach the California leech from our nuclear plant, the electricity needed for some parts of the process could also be solar.

Reply to  Writing Observer
June 11, 2023 7:13 pm

We already produce waste water that is clean enough for our nuclear plant to use for cooling. Farmers also use it for their crops. When you flush your waste in Arizona, it doesn’t go to waste.
In fact, the farmers want even more and they are eyeing what the nuclear plant gets so the nuclear plant is looking at brackish water that can’t be used for human consumption.
California real-estate near the shore is far too expensive for a solar process. Besides that California probably gets more nuclear power from Arizona than they get from their own plant.
In places, California uses their processed waste water to inject near the shore to prevent salt water from getting into their ground water. They already overdraw their ground water and fix was put in place years ago.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
June 11, 2023 1:08 pm

“As in Southern California where they have stoutly and successfully fought desalination for years on the grounds that a desalination plant will dump salt water into the ocean.”

OMG! Dump salt water in the ocean! 🙂

Rich Davis
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 12, 2023 2:17 am

Dude, I can understand their concern. The ocean’s already turning to like acid and stuff and pretty soon it’s gonna be boiling. Now you want to turn it into a boiling acid-salt slurry? How are the noble sea turtles gonna handle that? Not cool bruh!

Whoa! I just thought though, what if we don’t have enough water for our weed farms? The turtles are tough, they can deal!

Bar Code
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 12, 2023 10:42 am

If I’m not mistaken, Seattle refuses to use road salt during their infrequent snowstorms because the salt would enter Puget Sound through the storm drains.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Bar Code
June 12, 2023 11:29 am

Just wondering- here in Woke-achusetts, in recent years, salt on roads has been reduced because they say it’ll enter the water table – and get into public water supplies or home wells- and it can damage plants along the roadside. I should think that reason must also be why it’s discouraged in Seattle and other areas. I find it hard to believe that they’re worried about salt going into the ocean. It couldn’t possibly be enough to negatively effect organisms except maybe right where the pipe enters the sea. If they really believe that then they’re crazier than I thought. 🙂

June 11, 2023 11:24 am

The Golden Handcuffs impacting Arizona come from the high flow rate of people and capital from California to escape political climate crisis. It’s the hockey stick of bad public policy and a population bomb. Did I miss any climate greed cliches?

Reply to  ResourceGuy
June 11, 2023 1:14 pm

You missed something. People come here from all over the country because of the warm mild climate. Maybe globals warming is a bad thing for us because it attracts far too many people to Arizona. Cooling off Arizona might send them back to where they came from.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Dena
June 11, 2023 2:14 pm

People are leaving Califorinicatia because of Left wing politics and taxes.
Fewer are visiting as a result.
(Didn’t California loose a seat in House?)

Reply to  Gunga Din
June 11, 2023 4:06 pm

And just the high cost of living. When I moved back I sold a 1,200 square foot condo and purchased a 2,030 square foot house with money left over. The area might not pay as well but things don’t cost as much either. In addition, we have a large retired population and that’s probably one of the reason COVID hit harder here than elsewhere. Still, I don’t own a snow shove and I never needed one.

Rud Istvan
June 11, 2023 11:26 am

WaPo, where truth dies in darkness. Phoenix sits on the northern edge of the massive Sonoran desert. It was desert before Phoenix and before climate change. It will remain desert even if climate changes.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Rud Istvan
June 11, 2023 6:51 pm

It was a Ponderosa Pine forest when during the last glaciation period. So yes it not always desert. One thing is for sure the climate is always changing the question still remains how much and which direction. Even now the Climate Nazis can’t answer that question since they look at to short of a time period.

June 11, 2023 11:28 am

Let me fix the title of this post:

“Wrong, Washington Post. Whatever you just said was wrong.”

Loren Wilson
June 11, 2023 11:43 am

What receding glaciers? The nearest glacier to Phoenix is 1000 miles away in northern Montana. Water use has increased due to farming and population, not global warming.

Gilbert K. Arnold
Reply to  Loren Wilson
June 11, 2023 12:41 pm

Additionally… the Colorado river water is ‘oversubscribed”…That is under the Colorado River compact… state allocations of water from the river exceed the total water flow of the river

Gilbert K. Arnold
Reply to  Gilbert K. Arnold
June 11, 2023 12:45 pm

The Central Arizona Project pumps water over 1900ft uphill to its terminus a little southwest of Tucson…does anyone find this insane?

Reply to  Gilbert K. Arnold
June 11, 2023 1:20 pm

The starting point is about 1,000 feet in elevation and not all the water goes to Tucson. We have a 700 foot well at work though the water table is higher than that. Water isn’t cheap here which means we are careful about waste.
Consider our heating bill in the winter is around $100 a month. Is a $600 heating bill insane? It’s a cost of living where you live.

Reply to  Loren Wilson
June 11, 2023 3:33 pm

Colorado is closer to Arizona than Montana, and it has some receding glaciers some of which are feeding into Colorado River basin.


June 11, 2023 12:04 pm

Colorado River water -> desert farms -> alfafa -> exports to the Middle East -> dairy cow fodder -> milk.


June 11, 2023 12:45 pm

Keep It Simple … Pipeline from Great Lakes as big as need be branching out as needed.

Reply to  cb
June 11, 2023 1:22 pm

That will be an interesting hole your going to punch in the Rockies to get that water to Phoenix.

Reply to  Dena
June 11, 2023 3:34 pm

Boring Co. to the rescue!

June 11, 2023 1:18 pm

Excellent Anthony, the Washington Post pretty much sucks.

Max More
June 11, 2023 1:41 pm

Arizona uses no more water now that it did 50 years ago. Incredible but true. The most sensible way to restrain water use here would be to stop subsidizing types of agriculture that are water-intensive (looking at you, alfafa).

According to the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), the state used about 7.1 million acre-feet of fresh water in 1957, compared to 7.0 million acre-feet today. 
Nicla, Andrew, “Does Arizona really use less water now than it did in 1957?” The Republic/azcentral.com, February 12, 2019.

Reply to  Max More
June 11, 2023 4:13 pm

But the cattle love it and that’s one of Arizona’s 5cs. Copper, cotton, climate, citrus and cattle. I love the fact that there is a dairy about a mile away from me where I can buy fresh milk. Besides that, Alfa can be cut 12 times a year here so it’s really not that wasteful as long as we consume it locally or we make money off it. The problem was the Arabia was growing alfa here and shipping it home to feed cattle there. The only thing we gained was a little property tax money and we lost a lot of water.

Smart Rock
June 11, 2023 1:43 pm

If you live in northeast London, your water supply comes from the River Lea (also known as Lee, which name it gave to the Lee Enfield rifle), a modest sized tributary of the Thames. The Lea, whose source is in the Chiltern Hills about 40 kilometres to your northwest, is a small stream till it receives the output from the Luton sewage treatment plant. Going downstream, it supplies water to the towns of Harpenden, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City, Hertford and Ware, which all return it to the river after it goes through their own sewage plants. So a large proportion of your tap water has already been used four or five times before you drink it. Enjoy your tea!

This is how you have to use water in an area with lots of people and a limited supply.

In my teenage years, I walked the whole length of the Lea, I’ve seen it at first hand.

Reply to  Smart Rock
June 11, 2023 3:01 pm

In Wichita Falls, Texas, they are skipping the part about returning the water to the river, and just recycling their sewage by treating it to drinking water standards. Apparently, after you get past the “ick” factor, it works just fine.

Writing Observer
Reply to  starzmom
June 11, 2023 6:51 pm

Unless you take it right from the spring, your water has already had a multitude of “natural” critters poop, pee, and die in it. Even then, take note of the geology – that spring water can have a large amount of inorganic metal salts in it (both light and heavy metals).

Reply to  Smart Rock
June 11, 2023 7:22 pm

It used to be pretty bad here. Before the early environmental rules, the cities would draw from a river and dump their waste downstream of the city. Made the water very inviting when you were several cities down stream.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Smart Rock
June 12, 2023 2:28 am

The Rhine flows through 30 Germans before it reaches the North Sea.

Gunga Din
June 11, 2023 2:00 pm

Has the precipitation decreased or has water use increased?
I happen to live in an area where “water rights” isn’t an issue because we usually have an abundance of rain. When we don’t for a period of time, our geography was suited to building dams to take us over the hump.
(We’d be in better shape if enviro groups hadn’t block a dam back in the ’60s or ’70’s.)
Out West “water rights” is a big deal because in desert areas, not much rainfall.
Somehow, in the past, California got “rights” to other states’ water.
That whole “water rights” system needs to be reevaluated.

Reply to  Gunga Din
June 11, 2023 4:19 pm

California was the first to have their straw in the Colorado so they have senior rights because they were already using it. Arizona had sufficient water not to need it for a long time. The Central Arizona Project could only be built if we acknowledge the fact and we were the first to take cuts if needed. Unfortunately being careful with water was costly in the end. California no longer has the resources to fix their end of the problem and until they are willing to make a commitment to do so, our best bet is to pray for wet years.

June 11, 2023 4:52 pm

A few years ago, while in Phoenix, the city of Buckeye, to the west, said they were approving a new subdivision. Tens of thousands of new homes. When asked about water, the city fathers said there was enough now but in the future, they would need to acquire more water rights from the local tribes. If the natives have any sense, they will tell them NO.

Reply to  barryjo
June 11, 2023 7:18 pm

They are working on laws now that require new construction prove that they have a 100 year water supply. That should moderate growth and prevent us from getting any deeper into trouble. The native are very much aware of how valuable their water rights are. They were smart and at some point hired good lawyers so they are no longer a push over.

moringa man
Reply to  barryjo
June 15, 2023 3:16 pm

Water rights issues are a huge across Arizona. Many water districts fight for water with the many tribes in my state.The recent rain we had this year and the end of last has really helped us get back to normal (yes I said normal) and this is a wonderful thing for us. A side note, gardening in southern AZ is quite the challenge and make you very aware of the desert climate which I for one love.

Joseph Zorzin
June 11, 2023 5:46 pm

Another story from the WP

In scramble for EV metals, health threat to workers often goes unaddressed

Mineworkers in South Africa, the world’s largest producer of manganese, complain of memory loss and other neurological ills

HOTAZEL, South Africa — Dirk Jooste had never been a big drinker. But when he showed up for his job as an electrician at a manganese mine in the Kalahari Desert one Monday morning, he was trembling so much that his supervisor asked him if he was “babalas,” or hung over.

Jooste, then in his early 50s, soon lost the ability to keep his balance, walk straight and remember things as basic as the TV show he’d seen the night before, he recounted more than a decade later. Eventually, a doctor delivered news that shocked Jooste: The powdery black manganese dust he’d worked with each day for years appeared to have caused irreversible poisoning.

As demand for electric vehicles has soared in recent years, automakers have rapidly turned to manganese, a common and relatively inexpensive mineral that is already used in about half of rechargeable batteries and is seen as key to making supply chains more reliable and cars more affordable. The industry’s demand for manganese has quintupled over the past five years, and analysts predict it could increase a further ninefold by 2030.

For years, however, manganese has taken a toll on the health of those who mine and process it, according to scientific research that shows that high-level exposure can be toxic, causing a spectrum of neurological harm. In South Africa, home to the world’s biggest manganese reserves, interviews with dozens of current and former employees in mines and smelters, as well as with doctors and researchers, underscore the peril.

Writing Observer
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 11, 2023 6:53 pm

Oh, but those are just unsophisticated savages to the elite Greens. THOSE black lives don’t matter.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Writing Observer
June 13, 2023 12:38 am

Dirk Jooste would be a white guy

But the wrong type so still a sacrifice

John Hultquist
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 11, 2023 9:03 pm

 Cadmium poisoning is also a thing.


John Hultquist
June 11, 2023 8:45 pm


 At the current time, at least 55.8 million more people live in the SW than likely lived in the region in the year 1500.

Captain Climate
June 12, 2023 3:22 am

I’ve written to these journalists and the editors to correct them. They never respond. They don’t care if they’re lying or right or wrong. Their subscribers pay to have this fed to them.

Rich Davis
June 12, 2023 3:44 am

Arizona doesn’t have a water crisis caused by climate change. If anything they have a water problem that is being partially mitigated by climate change. (Or at least recent weather variation).

Arizona’s water problem is all about matching supply investments to population growth.

It basically comes down to the fact that all rational economic actors choose the lowest cost solution currently available. The lowest cost solution may not be sustainable either as originally conceived or over time as circumstances change. New approaches will be developed when the need justifies the costs.

As far as I am aware, we don’t reprocess waste water into drinking water anywhere in New England. Not because we couldn’t do it, but because it would be more expensive than other alternatives. Ours is a wet climate. Similarly we haven’t built pipelines to deliver Great Lakes water to Arizona. For the same reason. The market drove these decisions, not central planners.

Get government involved and you can’t expect anything to go smoothly. Irrational rules will be created that distort markets. Very wasteful practices will become the least-cost solution currently available. Government is a disease that is sometimes debilitating but usually manageable.

Even in a government-infested hellhole like California, the water taps don’t run dry. Solutions will be found despite government “help”.

So many “crises” relate to situations where the least-cost solution currently available is not sustainable and the people sounding the alarm don’t understand that just because something is unsustainable doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken advantage of while it’s available.

If you see a hundred dollar bill lying on the street, do you pick it up? Or do you ignore it because you can’t rely on hundred dollar bills being dropped in the road to carry you through to retirement? Of course you still need to get a job, but you pick up the Benjamin.

The systems AZ has in place aren’t adequate to continue population growth. Population will continue to grow. New systems will be added over time. Life will go on.

Gilbert K. Arnold
June 12, 2023 7:49 am

-June 11, 1:20pm
Wrong…. from the official site of the CAP… It’s source is Lake Havasu whose surface elevation is 448ft(137m), Tucson sits at 2389ft(729m) that’s about 1900′. if you are getting water from the CAP, it started at 448ft.

Steve Oregon
June 12, 2023 8:02 am

Dig a hole?

There’s been no change or trend in the source of water or temperature flowing into Mead.
Daily logs kept for Lake Powell show the inflow and temperature since Glen Canyon Dam was built in 1963. Like so many other places where daily measurements of precipitation, snow pack, inflow and temperature are recorded there is no signal of any climate change.
Here is every June 11th

The level of Mead is controlled by the Glenn Canyon dam and is effectively an extension of Lake Powell.

California use of Lake Mead/Colorado river water could be greatly reduced if they better captured their abundant Sierra water.
The long planned Sites Reservoir will help some.
But further south I also wonder if the Tulare Lake should be maintained with a smaller footprint and immense deepening. Suppose it were excavated to 300 ft deep?
Currently Tulare covers 178 sq. mi. but is very shallow and covers too much important farm land.
Lake Shasta covers 47 sq. but is 517 ft deep and holds 5.5 million acre feet.
A Tulare Reservoir would not require any Dam. It could be simply massively excavated to whatever depth makes the most sense.
Currently CA uses 4.4 Million Acre Feet of Colorado River water annually.
Deepening a much smaller Tulare Lake to hold that 4.4 million acre feet would be less costly than many other fixes.
Is it insane to suggest digging a hole?

Bar Code
June 12, 2023 10:39 am

A friend of mine bought some land near the Mexican border serviced by a water association.I asked him if it was Colorado river water or from wells. He said both, but their share of the Colorado was so large they couldn’t use it all and were injecting most of it into their wells to raise the level of their aquifer.

Gilbert K. Arnold
Reply to  Bar Code
June 12, 2023 6:44 pm

By treaty,the US is required to send to the mouth of the Colorado a set quantity of water. In the early 50′(I think it was),so much water was diverted from the river that south of the border the Colorado River was just a small stream not even worthy of being called a river.

Pat from Kerbob
June 13, 2023 12:30 am

Let’s be clear

This is happening because people are fleeing from cold to hot climates.

So the only solution is climate change, warm up the northern part of North America then people will move back.

I’m just one guy in calgary and I know dozens of people with places in phoenix.
Because cold SUCKS

June 13, 2023 7:54 am


One minor semantic correction.
Lake Mead was not actually “filled” (to capacity) until 1983.

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