We invited letter writers to peer into the future and tell us what our state will be like 50 years from now.
Depleted water supply shrinks our population
In the year 2062, due to the shortage of water, Tucson is a community of some 100,000 people, 90 percent of whom are retirees.
Out-of-staters continue to spell the city name "Tuscon." At its heyday, after the great California earthquake of 2023, migrating Californians swelled Tucson's population to over 2 million and developed an additional 17 golf courses. However, in subsequent years, depletion of groundwater supplies, coupled with the long-term drought eliminating CAP water distribution, caused a mass migration away from Southern Arizona.
Remaining homes are powered by a gigantic solar array providing enough energy for virtually all household utilities. The University of Arizona facilities are used for multifamily housing as very few students attend classes on campus - the vast majority obtaining their educational credits and degrees online via very high-speed Internet on their iPhone31's.
That year, the UA football team plays - and wins - at the Rose Bowl!
For those not retired, work consists of routine road and streetcar maintenance at minimum wage. An ultra-fast train system connects Tucson to Phoenix and the state's largest city, Flagstaff, allowing some Tucsonans to commute to work farther north. And, at long last, the Rio Nuevo project is completed only $37 trillion over budget.
Drier, hotter conditions cease to attract retirees
Fifty years from now, Arizona will be a much hotter and drier place than it is today. As a result of climate change, the entire Southwest, including the Rockies, will receive little rain or snow, and the Colorado River will be reduced to a trickle.
Few people will regard Arizona as a place for their retirement years, and our cities will see a declining population. With little accessible groundwater, we will rely on truckloads of water imported from other states. One bright note on the horizon, however, is a plan for engineers from the United States and Mexico to develop a desalinization plant at the northern end of the gulf that will provide water for Arizona, Sonora and neighboring regions.
Of course, many people will wonder why we did not pay more attention to the warnings of climate scientists and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels early in the 21st century.
Retired professor, Tucson
Rio Nuevo reaches $6B; Muslim studies urged
• Recent audit reveals Rio Nuevo has spent $6 billion since inception: $4.5 billion on consultant fees, $1.4 billion on lawyer fees and $100,000 on a new downtown barbershop.
• Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons blames Southern Arizona's water shortage on George Bush.
• Hearings on the Rosemont Mine set for Feb 20. Environmentalists insist the snail darter will be affected.
• Protesters block TUSD headquarters, want Muslim studies to be required for all students.
• President Malia Obama to visit Tucson but will not go to the border, claiming illegal immigration is a figment of Republicans' imagination.
Retired, Green Valley
Sonora develops major economic clout
The census of 2060 will show that Arizona's population will be 13 million, including 44.7 percent white persons of "Hispanic or Latino origin," and 42.1 percent of "white person, not Hispanic." The largest economic unit will be the Sun Corridor extending from Phoenix in the north to Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, in the south.
This corridor will be enhanced by the development of sustainable water supplies developed in the Mexican state of Sonora through the efforts of the state and federal governments in both countries.
This water source was generated by the development of a desalination process that has solved the problem of salt residue. With adequate water supplies, Sonora will replace the Central Valley of California as a major source for agricultural products.
Sonora will become one of Mexico's wealthiest states, and will assist Arizona with investments in aerospace, informatics, tourism, bioscience and solar industries.
Additionally, Sonorans will invest heavily in Arizona real estate and become its largest source of tourism.
Lawrence E. Koslow
Arizona has become dream of prosperity
Arizona will celebrate 150 years of statehood with a gigantic parade through beautiful downtown Phoenix. The prosperity of our state is looked up to nationally as an example of what can be down with true legislative leadership that works together for the common good.
Crime is down. New industry has come into the state. Many companies have come back from overseas. Personal incomes are at an all-time high. Our schools are envied nationally.
Fortunately for the state, Rosemont withdrew its copper mine proposal and environmental disaster was avoided. Tourism is flourishing. Citizens of Arizona were judged the happiest in a national poll.
Wait! Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I stumble into the living room and read the paper. Sadly, I've been dreaming.
Arizona is still shockingly similar to 2012 because the voters have failed to make the necessary changes in our state government. Our state leaders still resemble Antenori, Brewer, Melvin, Arpaio and Pearce, rather that Giffords, the Udalls and Goldwater.
Oh, well, it's been said that "Continuing to do the same thing and expecting a better outcome is the very definition of insanity."
Donald M. Vandine
Retired teacher, Sierra Vista
As population declines, AZ reverts to territory
Arizona will have reverted to a territory again, under the administration of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The total population will be below 100,000, and 75 percent of the residents will be over the age of 65.
Water will have to be trucked in from California and Colorado.
Living up to its name, Pinal County will be filled exclusively with prisons.
There will be no plans for a sesquicentennial!
Robert L. Maddex
Attorney, Oro Valley
We're known for 10 C's, including conservation
The 5 C's have expanded to 10 C's, in descending order:
1. Climate: We have replaced Florida as America's winter playground.
2. Corridor: Phoenix-Tucson and including Santa Cruz, Cochise and Pinal counties, have grown to over 8 million. Corridor includes modern high-speed transport and links to SoCal and Las Vegas.
3. Commerce: Thanks to Nos. 1 and 2 Arizona is a wealthy and fiscally stable state from sales and special use taxes.
4. Conservation: Arizona is a leader in conserving air and water and open space and development of alternative energy.
5. Conservative: We lead the nation in Western Heritage Conservatism. Our early primary supplants Iowa and New Hampshire in importance.
6. Copper: Has become a precious commodity and Arizona's No. 1 industrial interest. (and for 6-10, see 4 and 5)
7. Cattle feed: It grows well in Arizona and is expensive and our No. 1 crop.
8. Cattle: We are a boutique for Western free-range, grass-fed beef.
9. Citrus: Diminishing, but still important.
10. Cotton: Same as 9.
Albert B. Lassen