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Updated Feb 12, 2014 - 6:11 am

Phoenix city official Bill Gates wants 50-year water plan

Phoenix Vice Mayor Bill Gates said the 21st century has been the Southwest’s driest over the past 400 years, and there’s no immediate end in sight.

But despite the region’s dry spell, Gates said he wants to make sure Phoenix has enough water to meet the city’s population growth.

“Phoenix has a good track record when it comes to dealing with water issues and having the supply that we need for residents,” Gates said.

“I want to increase the attention on what has been done and how we can prepare for the future. We don’t know what’s going to happen moving forward. We need to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.”

ASU climate expert Randy Cerveny said Arizona has been facing varying degrees of drought since about 1997, adding that the region has had mega droughts before that lasted for more than a century. Ceverny said It remains to be seen if Phoenix in another one of these mega droughts.

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