Zoomtowns are drying up, literally

As remote workers settle in new areas, they’re driving up housing costs and straining resources.

Many remote workers moved from pricey cities to cheaper areas where they could afford a home.

Zoomtowns are drying up, literally

This not only drives up housing costs, but transplants are also straining limited water resources, according to Business Insider.

This is especially true…

… in the drought-stricken American Southwest, where temperatures are high and water is diminishing amid climate change.

  • Cities including Phoenix, Austin, and Santa Fe all saw their remote-work shares bump to 20%+ in 2021, compared to the national average of 17.9%.
  • A University of Nevada, Las Vegas study found residential water use in Henderson, Nevada increased amid the pandemic, due in part to remote work.

While an individual household doesn’t use as much water as, say, agriculture or giant companies, it’s still troubling.

What’s the solution?

Just increasing water costs could harm lower-income families while failing to change the habits of those who can afford it.

But similar strategies do work. In southern Nevada, water usage has decreased 25%+ in the last 20 years, despite an increasing population, thanks to tactics like:

  • Penalties for water-wasters
  • Restrictions on water usage
  • Rebate programs for sustainable changes, like replacing grass with climate-friendly plants

Meanwhile, some areas are trying public shaming.

For example: The Suffolk County Water Authority’s 2022 “water hogs” include Joann Goldsman, wife of Batman & Robin screenwriter Akiva Goldsman. Poison Ivy would be so pissed.

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