As Colorado And The West Dry Out At Record Rates, We Need A New Word For Drought

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Photo: Lake Mead Drought - AP
In this April 16, 2013, file photo, a "bathtub ring" shows the high water mark on Lake Mead near Boulder City, Nev.

researcher Douglas Kenney thinks. Kenney directs the school's Western Water Policy Program, which recently released a paper called "When is Drought, Not a Drought: Drought, Aridification, and the "New Normal."

Kenney talked to Colorado Matters about why he and his peers believe that aridification is the more appropriate word. Aridification describes a period of transition where an environment becomes increasingly and permanently water scarce -- a new reality for the Western U.S.