The Water Crisis in the Southwest

More from our inbox:

  • Should Liz Cheney Run for President?
  • Jerrold Nadler’s Feminist Credentials
  • Living With Diabetes

Credit…John Locher/Associated Press

To the Editor:

Re “The Coming Crisis on the Colorado River,” by Daniel Rothberg(Sunday Opinion, Aug. 7):

The difference between 33 degrees Fahrenheit and 31 degrees Fahrenheit is the difference between rain and snow. The two-degree increase in ambient temperature in many parts of the Southwest, already recorded, has had a critical effect on the dwindling water levels of the Colorado River.

The spigot that turns on water for Lake Mead and Lake Powell reservoirs resides high in the mountains of Colorado where dense snowpack builds up during the winter and melts slowly during the summer.

Snowmelt runoff, unlike rainfall that becomes widely dispersed, is channeled into creeks and small streams that eventually combine and funnel into the Colorado River. The snowpack is disappearing.

Ten years ago I was at Lake Mead’s now-disappeared Overton Beach Marina and read a sign on a palm tree that said, “Boat Slips Available.” Behind it was a vast landscape of dry and cracked lake bed. The “coming crisis on the Colorado River” has been arriving for some time now.

For decades people in the urban Southwest have been living off federal money for subsidized water, with dams, aqueducts and pumping systems watering hundreds of golf courses, a swimming pool for every house and citrus groves in the desert.

When the water level of Lake Mead reaches 1,042 feet above sea level, as it did recently, this false idea of a “desert miracle” confronts the true reality of a “dead pool” and the meaning of climate change.

Judith Nies
Cambridge, Mass.
The writer is the author of “Unreal City: Las Vegas, Black Mesa and the Fate of the West.”

To the Editor:

The West is drying and the East is flooding: Lake Mead, the vital sign of the Colorado River, has fallen to historic lows, and Kentucky has the opposite problem, overwhelmed by floodwaters.

At a time when the country is already divided in enough ways, I hope that water can be a theme we can all rally around. Whether too much or too little, water touches us all.

Certainly, resolving the Colorado River crisis — with its roots now gnarled in agriculture, urban growth, economics, politics and climate change — is a massive undertaking that will not happen in a day or even a decade. It requires individuals as well as institutions.

A small action, whether to conserve water at home or to support a policy at the ballot box, shows commitment. To those of us who live in the West, it’s more than just a drop in the bucket. It’s good leadership, and it’s good stewardship.

Robert B. Sowby
Provo, Utah
The writer is a water resources engineer and a professor at Brigham Young University.

Should Liz Cheney Run for President?

Representative Liz Cheney spoke to her supporters on Tuesday night in Jackson, Wyo., and on Wednesday announced her new anti-Trump political organization.Credit…Kim Raff for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Liz Cheney Says She’s ‘Thinking’ About Running for President in 2024” (news article, nytimes.com, Aug. 17):

The heroic stance that soon-to-be-former Representative Liz Cheney has taken will go down in history as a true “profile in courage,” but her trajectory should not include a run for president.

While it is impossible to predict what effect that would have on Donald Trump’s hypnotism of the Republican Party — especially given the various legal issues he is facing — she would have no chance of securing the nomination. And although I admire her tenacity and integrity, I would not vote for her for president given the programs and platform she has espoused.

I would hope that there’s some position that she would be suited for and accept in the federal government when her term ends so that her voice and influence are still valued and her courage is rewarded, but not as a presidential candidate.

Dave Pasinski
Fayetteville, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “Liz Cheney Invokes Lincoln and Grant in Impassioned Concession Speech” (nytimes.com, Aug. 17):

I hope Representative Liz Cheney draws inspiration not only from Lincoln and Grant, but also from another Republican president. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt broke with the Republican Party and ran for president on a third-party ticket. He didn’t win, but he bested the Republican candidate, the incumbent president, William Howard Taft. (Woodrow Wilson was elected.)

Roosevelt had been president from 1901 to 1909 and, like Ms. Cheney today, he had good reason to oppose the leader of the party with which he had been associated until the election of 1912.

Felix M. Larkin

To the Editor:

I hope that come the 2024 presidential election, if Liz Cheney is running, that independents (and Democrats) remember that Ms. Cheney was an extremist right-winger before she became a hero by, oh right, performing her most basic duty of defending the Constitution.

John M. Williams
New York

Jerrold Nadler’s Feminist Credentials

Carolyn Maloney, a 15-term congresswoman, is facing off against a longtime House colleague, Jerrold Nadler, in an Aug. 23 primary.Credit…Desiree Rios/The New York Times
Credit…Carly Zavala for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Maloney’s Primary Pitch to Voters: You Need a Woman for This Job” (news article, Aug. 17):

I’m a founding editor of Ms. magazine, and I say a man of conscience, a man who proudly campaigns as a feminist, and has a strong lifetime record of initiating bills supporting women’s and family issues — the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Freedom of Choice Act, the Violence Against Women Act — is man enough to represent our cause.

Jerrold Nadler isn’t just any male candidate. He’s the male in this race who’s been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and Naral Pro-Choice America.

Carolyn Maloney has been a fine member of Congress, but playing the gender card in this race is blatantly simplistic, opportunistic and unfair.

Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Stockbridge, Mass.

Living With Diabetes

Lisa Hepner produced and directed the documentary “The Human Trial” with her husband, Guy Mossman, about people taking part in a clinical trial to treat Type 1 diabetes.Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “The Long, Long Wait for a Diabetes Cure” (Science Times, Aug. 9):

As a pediatric endocrinologist I have treated Type 1 diabetes patients for the past 35 years. But as a father of a 12-year-old Type 1 diabetic boy diagnosed at age 2, I have lived diabetes for the past 10 years.

I completely agree with Lisa Hepner’s assertion that this disorder deserves more attention and empathy from others. This chronic condition changes how a person feels minute to minute, hour to hour, day in and day out.

I am amazed and in awe of my son Shai, who awakens daily to a civil war: battling his own body’s inability to metabolize sugar while trying to live a “normal” life. He has bravely learned to doctor himself — checking his sugar, giving insulin and monitoring constantly for low or high sugar values. He, and millions like him, cannot easily function or just get through a day without the incessant cloud of concern for their “number” — their blood glucose/sugar being abnormal.

For people with diabetes, “normal” daily activities like eating a meal or snack, playing sports, doing exercise of any kind, or just attending school or summer camp become huge hurdles.

Our leaders should be more focused on “changing the climate” for those with this life-altering and life-threatening chronic illness, by spending more toward a cure.

Samuel M. Freedman
Boca Raton, Fla.

Back to top button