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There was one thing Rome depended on for its survival
more than an ever-increasing supply of slaves.

Why Phoenix may not thrive as long as ancient Rome

Not only was Rome not built in a day, it might not have been built at all - at least not in the way we remember it - were it not for Roman engineers who discovered underground springs as far as 40 miles from the city and with uncanny precision, transported fresh water back to quench the thirst of almost a million people.

Of the 260 miles that comprised the Roman water system at its height, only 30 miles was above ground. Wherever the engineers found potable water, they drew a straight line from the source to the city, and used gravity to build over, through or under whatever obstacle stood in the way. Even today, the waters that spray from the magnificent Trevi fountain are partially fed by an aqueduct still operating after two millennia.

Rome had it figured out, but what about the city in which I live, Phoenix, Arizona? When the Goths destroyed Rome's aqueducts in 537 CE, Rome's population fell by 90%.* What will the 19 million+ people of the American Southwest do if the modern-day equivalent of invading hordes - development and climate change - deprive the area of its lavish water supply? Will swimming pools and golf courses become a thing of the past? Will Phoenix, one day, become like ancient Rome, where clean, fresh and abundant water is available only in the homes of the wealthy few? Some scientists believe this is a future which the area's residents may be facing soon, not in a hundred years, but within the current generation. The rugged individualist of the Old West may become a mighty thirsty one to boot.

Unthinkable? Don't take my word for it: listen in here, and decide for yourself, if you live in America's great Southwest, if it is time to head for the hills.


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