The Southeast just suffered its worst year of drought in a century. Arizona is deep into its second decade of drought conditions. And wildfires that scorched Southern California in October provided an unwelcome reminder that this region went through 150 consecutive days without rain.

Water, life's essence, is increasingly scarce across the continental U.S. That's especially true in the Southeast and Southwest, where its availability and allocation are now battlefields upon which states are staking their future growth. It only took weeks before Florida was complaining about a temporary water-sharing plan, brokered by the U.S. Department of Interior in November, that allows Atlanta to keep more water from Lake Lanier, while protecting water rights of communities and industries downstream in Alabama and Florida. New guidelines that will govern the allocation of water from the Colorado River to seven Western states through 2026 could eventually reduce how much water gets to fast-growing Arizona and Nevada.

This special report looks at how severe drought is impacting Southern and Western builders and developers. Most remain confident that there will be enough water to allow them to build homes to meet demand. “Drought-tolerant” landscaping, along with water-saving drip irrigation, plumbing fixtures, and appliances, is now a standard feature for many homes and communities in these markets. Although future supply hinges on homeowners using less water, it just might take locally mandated restrictions and exorbitant water bills before they take conservation seriously.

Liquid Diet
Builders and developers in the Southeast and West adjust to drought conditions by helping to reduce water usage in their homes and communities.

A Dry Season
Water shortages are on the rise in the East. Are your developments to blame?

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.