Climate Change Is Threatening The U.S. West's Water Supply : Short Wave The past year has been the driest or second driest in most Southwestern U.S. states since record-keeping began in 1895. Climate Correspondent Lauren Sommer reports that farms and cities have begun imposing water restrictions, but the water supply will shrink no matter what the weather brings. The supply spans tens of millions of people and the farmland that produces most of the country's fruits and vegetables. As a result, the people who manage the West's complex water systems are realizing that with climate change, they can no longer rely on the past to predict the future.

Read more of Lauren's reporting.

Email us at shortwave@npr.org.

Climate Change Is Threatening The U.S. West's Water Supply

Climate Change Is Threatening The U.S. West's Water Supply

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Lines mark previous water levels at the Hoover Dam on Lake Mead in Boulder City, Nevada, U.S., on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. The reservoir level at the Hoover Dam has plunged to its lowest since it was first filled in the 1930s. Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Lines mark previous water levels at the Hoover Dam on Lake Mead in Boulder City, Nevada, U.S., on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. The reservoir level at the Hoover Dam has plunged to its lowest since it was first filled in the 1930s.

Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The past year has been the driest or second driest in most Southwestern U.S. states since record-keeping began in 1895. Climate Correspondent Lauren Sommer reports that farms and cities have begun imposing water restrictions, but the water supply will shrink no matter what the weather brings. The supply spans tens of millions of people and the farmland that produces most of the country's fruits and vegetables. As a result, the people who manage the West's complex water systems are realizing that with climate change, they can no longer rely on the past to predict the future.

Read more of Lauren's reporting.

Email us at shortwave@npr.org.

This story was edited by Gisele Grayson and produced by Rebecca Ramirez and Brit Hanson. Indi Khera checked the facts and Alex Drewenskus was the audio engineer.