Photograph by Peter Essick, National Geographic
The American West faces persistent drought, whether or not relief comes this winter. The population of the Phoenix area (Sun City is pictured here) grew four times larger between 1970 and 2010. The Central Arizona Project, a 336-mile-long system of canals and pipelines, carries Colorado River water through the desert to the Phoenix metro area.
See more pictures from October 2014 feature article “When the Snows Fail.“