Water challenges present measurable trendlines that recommend change in our relationships with natural systems. The Ten Across transect features water conditions at their most extreme. As the West endures an historic megadrought, the Gulf region loses thousands of square miles of coastline. The solutions require collaboration and foresight, as well as partnerships between science and community values.

The Ten Across region features monumental investments in the management and movement of water. Whether transporting it to growing metros in the desert southwest or preventing the inundation of cities in the Gulf region, the fragility of these systems in the face of climate change is ever more obvious.


Miles the CAP canal pumps Colorado River water to Southern Arizona

Source Central Arizona Project canal, State of Arizona.


Portion of Mississippi River flow forced by the Old River Control Structure to maintain unnatural course

Source Old River Control, US Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District

Massive change is observable here in no uncertain terms, resulting recently in the nation’s first climate refugees.

Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’, The New York Times, May 2, 2016.


Square miles of Louisiana coastline lost since the 1930s

Source Louisiana’s Disappearing Coast. New Yorker (Elizabeth Kolbert), March 25, 2019.

As finite potable water sources become strained in many places throughout the Ten Across region, competition is intensifying between cities, agriculture, industry and even investors.

100 years

Water supply required to be proven for each new residential development in parts of Arizona

Source Assured and Adequate Water Supply programs, Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR).

Are we prepared to adjust our lifestyles in response to a diminishing water supply?

Will the growing unpredictability of extreme precipitation events change the way our communities plan?

The I-10 transect contains desalination plants in both coastal and inland environments. The nation’s largest is south of L.A., while Florida features 140 plants. All call into question the energy & water equation.

Alternative Water Supply, Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Desalination Is Booming as Cities Run out of Water. Wired (Jim Robbins), June 27, 2019.


El Paso’s ranking among world’s largest inland desalination facilities

Source Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant, El Paso Water.

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