ASU professor predicts future shortages in state rivers

Heather BatemanExtreme weather changes and a boom in population growth will result in a declining of the rivers in Arizona, according to an Arizona State University professor. Heather Bateman, a field ecologist and an associate professor in ASU’s College of Integrative Arts and Sciences predicts that the steady rise of Phoenix’s population will increase the consumption of water which will in turn reduce the amount of water in streams. Bateman has conducted research that shows that in highly modified rivers, there is also a “lower diversity of lizards, amphibians and small mammals.” The impact goes beyond the wildlife. The factors mentioned above also impact the habitat surrounding the streams. As the streams lose their high flows, the surrounding vegetation changes, replacing animals that need a lot of water with animals that are more tolerant of less water and less green vegetation. Bateman suggests residents pay closer attention to how policies involving water are handled.