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As parched California receives much needed rain and snow this winter, some local water officials are calling on state leaders to invest in new infrastructure projects that will store freshwater for inevitable dry times to come.
The worst megadrought in 1,200 years is devastating the water supply in the Western United States. It’s drying up the Colorado River basin, a major North American river system, while also depleting reservoirs and underground aquifers and forcing communities to make drastic cuts to their freshwater use.
Western states can no longer rely on snowmelt and rain to supply their communities in a drier, more arid landscape caused by climate change, say water experts.
Environmental groups have called for increased conservation efforts, such as pushing people to limit watering of ornamental lawns and upgrade to more efficient appliances. And they want officials to invest more in wastewater recycling or desalination projects. But some local water officials in California and across the West see a massive opportunity in storing rainwater in new or expanded reservoirs and groundwater aquifers.