A long emergency with steps of temporary mitigation
I think the pending future can be seen in this article:
First of all, I think it bears out my perspective that The Long Emergency will play out over many centuries, at least. The article mentions a whole variety of temporary alleviations of this particular problem (water shortages in the southwest). It gives a sense that measures will be accepted (or forced) one by one over time. For example: Combining the reservoirs could help greatly with the evaporation problem. Stopping the export of nonessential crops like alfalfa and other grasses (to feed cattle in the Middle East and Asia) would save X amount of water. Removing the threat of penalties for not exercising water rights, or expanding rewards for conservation, would not be too difficult. Nor would slowing the influx of new residents moving from locations around the country.
This gives an idea that the pending future will be: Crises recognized; incremental alleviation or mitigation measures adopted; each measure might enable four decades, six decades, eight decades of a new (temporary) status quo in regard to that particular problem; then the next level of crisis arises; new, additional, more comprehensive measures could be adopted enabling another half-century of acceptable temporary status quo; etc.
Issue by issue, problem by problem, crisis after crisis.
You can see in this article and others (in the liberal media) a growing critique of anarchic capitalism and an inclination toward acceptance of some degree of eco-socialism:
“The uncomfortable truth is that difficult and unpopular decisions are now unavoidable. Prohibiting some water uses as unacceptable — long eschewed as antithetical to personal freedoms and the rules of capitalism — is now what’s needed most.”
This is in keeping with the idea that a phase of eco-socialism will be needed to open doors toward the ultimate greening of society.