For this story I assumed there were lessons to be learned from the Yarnell Hill Fire. But when I called Stephen Pyne, a fire historian at Arizona State University, he said, “for all of the sort of graphic and horrible qualities of the fire that made it so compelling to the general public, I don’t think it taught the fire community anything.”
David Sharp and his brother grow 2,400 acres of alfalfa, wheat and cotton. He says alfalfa is a good rotation crop because it puts nitrogen back in the soil. There's also a big market for it in the U.S. and overseas.
Federal officials are cutting off water to some California farms stuck in the worst drought on record. At the same time Arizona farmers are irrigating their fields with the diminishing Colorado River. They’re using the water to grow most of the country’s winter vegetables, and even shipping some crops to China. In the final part of the series Pipe Dreams, a look at the controversy of indirectly exporting water overseas.
Most people are squeamish about the notion of consuming recycled wastewater. But experts say we might have to get used to the idea, given our current drought and the growing population in the Southwest. How does that water get clean enough to drink?
California is coping with the worst drought in recorded history. California’s governor has asked state residents to cut back water use by 20 percent. The rest of the Southwest is also experiencing extreme to severe drought. In the first part of a water series we’re calling Pipe Dreams, Laurel Morales of our Changing America Desk went to Las Vegas to talk to a woman who has redefined water management in the west — outgoing water czar Pat Mulroy.