This one chart shows why pandemic boomtowns like Phoenix and Denver are in trouble — they’re running out of water

The rise in remote work caused many smaller US cities to see a boom in population growth – and some might soon be at their breaking point. 

Southwestern cities like Phoenix, Denver, and Dallas, which have seen some of the largest influxes of new residents in the past year, are in the throes of a water shortage caused by climate change and potentially made worse by the growing population straining resources, according to a report by Insider. 

These cities saw explosions in popularity as rising access to remote work meant that many white-collar workers were no longer tethered to bigger cities with higher costs of living. Now, pandemic “boomtowns” might be in trouble.

States that source water from the Colorado River, including Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, California, and Nevada, are seeing record-low water reserves, which could lead to an energy crisis for about 5 million people, according to the AP. 

The lakes upon which this region gets water have gotten so dry due to lack of snow and rising temperatures that the shrinkage can be seen from space.

People working from home have likely made the water shortage worse. 

A recent study from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, found that Covid-19 stay-at-home orders caused a “significant increase” in water consumption.

A co-author of the study told Insider that it’s “plausible” that the growing population added to water use. 

Read the full story on the water shortage facing pandemic boomtowns and how some cities are trying to tackle the crisis.

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