The Western United States' long battle for an adequate water supply is entering a challenging new phase. Scientists say climate change could reduce rainfall 25 percent in coming years, and droughts will become longer and more frequent — all as the region's population growth is setting records. Climatologists say farmers and ranchers must find new ways of operating in arid conditions, and cities must increase their conservation efforts despite citizen resistance. At the same time, experts say states must do more to work together to address the region's water limitations, and some want the federal government to assume a bigger role in mediating water disputes. Still, some scientists say the threat of a protracted water crisis is overblown, noting that droughts have been cyclical throughout ...

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