CARSON CITY, NV — Cities in the U.S. West are preparing for considerable growth in the coming decades despite a historic drought and shrinking water supplies.
From Phoenix to Boise, officials are working to ensure they have the resources, infrastructure and housing supply to meet growth projections while balancing conservation.
Their efforts are constrained by the fact that some cities are surrounded by federal land.
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada wants to remedy the issue around Las Vegas by strengthening protections for some public lands while selling others to commercial and residential developers.
Opponents argue that approving these kinds of "swaps" isn't sustainable, particularly in areas that rely on a shrinking water supply.
In April, the area under Exceptional Drought (the worst kind) has expanded to cover 58% of Arizona, including parts of the Phoenix metro area. 55% of the state was in an Exceptional Drought last week.