"Shooting the Apocalypse" by Paolo Bacigalupi
This story comes from the anthology "Loosed Upon The World" edited by John Joseph Adams.
The end of the world? Or maybe just the beginning to the end? This story was definitely a wake-up call for some of the basic resources we have here on earth. One of them in particular, water.
Texas has dried up and Phoenix is one of the few towns that still has water. Phoenix's water supply is served by a canal that connects to the Colorado River. The canal is called CAP, or Central Arizona Project. The CAP is made of cement and protected by surrounding chain link fencing. The CAP is an engineering feat of great magnitude. The bureaucrats successfully negotiated the project before all of Texas dried up. In the end Phoenix had better government officials.
Texans are constantly trying to breach the CAP for water. There is a sort of civil war between Texans and the residents of Phoenix. They hate each other to the point of killing each other. The Texans want water and the Phoenicians don't want to give it up.
The story takes place in a near future America. A photographer named Timo, and a journalist, Lucy, are looking for the next big story. Lucy is afraid that all the good stories have been scooped. For every idea that Timo throws out to her she tells him some major publisher that has covered the story.
Then one day Timo received a tip. He drove out into the middle of nowhere along the CAP. There he found a dead Texan hanging from the chain link fence. He called Lucy and told her where to meet him and that he had the story she was looking for. While waiting for Lucy to arrive he started shooting shots of the dead Texan.
When Lucy arrived at the scene she told Timo that the story has been done already. Of course Texans want water, there is nothing new about that. And there is nothing new about a Phoenician killing a Texan. Timo told her to look deeper. Look around and see the story. Lucy looked further into the scene and the story starts piecing itself together. Timo fills in the gaps of her knowledge.
The man hanging from the chain link fence wasn't just a Texan who had been murdered. He had prayer beads of a local church cult. There were different items strewn about on the ground. The items were used in rituals and prayers to Santa Muerte the Lady of Death. The man was sacrificed. There was a story. That unfortunately was just the beginning of the story and it didn't end there.
This was an interesting take on what our country would look like without the one vital resource we all require. What would happen in towns and cities if the water just out and dried up? This was an all to real scenario of what it could possibly turn into.
Are we doing enough to protect our water resources in the world? We have polluted rivers and streams and constantly have chemicals and by-products being dumped into them. We have oceans that are rising and becoming more acidic killing of wild life.
What would we do without the resource of water? Well, we would die.