40 episodes

The Colorado River feeds us and powers our lives, irrigating millions of acres of farmland and generating billions of kilowatt-hours in hydroelectric power. Forty million people get drinking water from the Colorado River. Cities from Denver to Los Angeles couldn’t exist without it. It supports 30 Tribal Nations.

But we’re using more water than the river has to give. The Colorado River has already lost trillions of gallons to rising temperatures over the last two decades. Meanwhile, rampant growth and water-intensive farming have depleted groundwater supplies. This means Western states must fundamentally rethink how water is divided up and used. In the latest season of “How We Survive,” we unpack the water crisis in the American West and investigate the solutions that could help us survive.

How We Survive Marketplace

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 1K Ratings

The Colorado River feeds us and powers our lives, irrigating millions of acres of farmland and generating billions of kilowatt-hours in hydroelectric power. Forty million people get drinking water from the Colorado River. Cities from Denver to Los Angeles couldn’t exist without it. It supports 30 Tribal Nations.

But we’re using more water than the river has to give. The Colorado River has already lost trillions of gallons to rising temperatures over the last two decades. Meanwhile, rampant growth and water-intensive farming have depleted groundwater supplies. This means Western states must fundamentally rethink how water is divided up and used. In the latest season of “How We Survive,” we unpack the water crisis in the American West and investigate the solutions that could help us survive.

    The $80 Million Acre

    The $80 Million Acre

    Buckeye, Arizona, is a small city with dreams of becoming “the next Phoenix.” It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. In the past few decades, its population has ballooned more than twentyfold, and the city plans to add more than 100,000 new homes in coming years.

    The only catch? Growth requires water. And Buckeye doesn’t have enough. So what’s a small city with big dreams to do? Part of the answer lies in one scrubby acre of land way out in the desert that’s owned by a group of investors.

    • 32 min
    Stolen River

    Stolen River

    Over a century after its namesake river — the Gila — was stolen by colonization, the Gila River Indian Community won its water rights back. Now the community is using the water to restore its farming economy, build back wetlands that long ago dried up and help stabilize the Colorado River system.

    • 32 min
    Rewriting the Rules

    Rewriting the Rules

    The city of Albuquerque exists in part because of the Azotea Tunnel, a massive infrastructure project that effectively rerouted part of the Colorado River into the Rio Grande. The project helped sustain Albuquerque’s rapid population growth. Meanwhile, some communities lost out. Water that would have flowed through the Jicarilla Apache Nation was instead diverted via the tunnel.

    In this episode, we travel 180 miles north of Albuquerque to the town of Dulce to talk to Daryl Vigil, retired longtime water administrator, about how the tribe is fighting for a seat at the table in ongoing Colorado River management. And we visit To’Hajiilee, a community dealing with water insecurity that stands to benefit from leasing Jicarilla settlement water.

    • 35 min
    Groundwater Wars

    Groundwater Wars

    Kingman, Arizona, a small farming town in the desert, is a cautionary tale in the West’s water crisis.

    About a decade ago, large corporate farms started moving into the desert of Mohave County, growing thirsty crops like alfalfa and nuts. At the time, there were practically no rules restricting groundwater pumping, and local officials worried the farms would run the town dry. So local leaders did something that hadn’t been done in 40 years. They asked the state to step in and pass strict rules on groundwater pumping.

    This episode, we travel to Kingman to look at a complicated solution that has splintered a community, pitting neighbors against each other and farmers and ranchers against elected officials.

    • 33 min
    The Price of Paradise

    The Price of Paradise

    When Leigh Harris and her husband, Franck Avril, moved into their dream home, Leigh said she felt like the luckiest person in the world. The home is in Rio Verde Foothills, Arizona, outside Scottsdale, in unincorporated Maricopa County. It’s a large stucco house, with high ceilings, a fireplace and 35 windows to take in the mountain views.

    There was just one downside. Their home was built on a dry lot, which meant water was hauled in by trucks from Scottsdale. And amid a worsening drought, Scottsdale had to cut them off. This episode, we follow Leigh and Franck as they scramble to find an affordable water supply and make the most of every last drop.

    • 34 min
    Betting on Conservation

    Betting on Conservation

    Las Vegas is a fantastical Disneyland for adults in the middle of the desert. It features fabulous displays of water — like the thousand dancing fountains of the Bellagio Hotel or the winding canals that recreate Venice at the Venetian Hotel. But surprisingly, it’s a city that has also become known for water conservation and innovation.

    In this episode, we sit down with Pat Mulroy, who was the top water manager in Southern Nevada for 25 years and led conservation efforts in the desert city. We talk with her about the existential crisis that Las Vegas and other desert cities face, how Southern Nevada has been able to cut its Colorado River water use by 31% in the past two decades, and what that means for the trade-offs that we all may have to consider to keep living where we want to live.

    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
1K Ratings

1K Ratings

Accordion2me ,

Great Storytelling!

I learn so much from this podcast. Every episode covers a topic that is not only very applicable right now and the immediate future, it’s explored with balanced journalism, curiosity and humor. How DO we survive? It’s easy to focus on what isn’t working, but this show gives me hope.

Jimbo86342 ,

Welcome to the revolution, Comrade!

Wow…just got done with the episode where Amy Scott interviews the people behind the film “How to Blow Up a Pipeline”. Amy did not ask any hard questions or challenge these people in a real way. I really felt like she was just saying “amen, brother!” The whole time. Nothing on this pod now but doom, gloom and fight the man. The final straw was hearing the justification for violent action from the movie makers with no challenge from Amy.
I miss Molly Wood! If you want a better podcast focused on solutions, go find Molly on her podcast. So much better!

app nonuser ,

We get what we deserve

I love this podcast. It’s a clear-eyed look at the future that awaits if we don’t innovate, conserve precious resources and reduce our consumption.

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