Mary Ann Dickinson | National Geographic
We’re accustomed to waiting in lines for a football game, to buy movie tickets or perhaps to get a seat in the most coveted professor’s class. But what if we had to wait in line to move? What if we had to be granted access to a city where we found a great new job or the family dream home we always wanted?
This idea isn’t so far-fetched; in some places, it’s already an unfortunate reality. In the seaside village of Cambria, California, 666 families and individuals are currently waiting for permission to move into their single family homes. Many have been on the wait list for upwards of 20 years. As recently as this summer, the San Diego Union-Tribune was fielding letters suggesting that the city close its doors to new residents.
Why have communities resorted to such extreme measures? The answer is simpler than you may think: they don’t have sufficient water supplies to hook up to new homes and facilities. Planners and decision-makers are increasingly challenged with the task of accommodating new water customers with existing and possibly limited water resources. This tension can also place limits on overall economic growth, deterring businesses from investing or expanding operations that can create jobs and bring opportunity to cities. Read more