Future Water Shortages

An Avoidable Crisis

Global climate change and the increasing population in our nation will combine to create water shortages of crisis proportions in the decades ahead. But this is an avoidable crisis if we can create a new commitment to make the development of new water supplies a national priority.

Rising population will strain America's water resources:

  • The U.S. population has grown 52 percent in the last 30 years, while the total water usage per person has tripled.
  • Current trends such as declining ground water levels and increasing population indicate that the freshwater supply is reaching its limits in some locations while freshwater demand is increasing.
  • Groundwater provides 31 percent of the water used in U.S. agriculture and is, on average, being depleted 25 percent in excess of recharge rates.

Sprawling cities add to American water woes:

  • The Natural Resources Defense Council recently reported that "as the impervious surfaces that characterize sprawling development - roads, parking lots, driveways, and roofs - replace meadows and forests, rain no longer can seep into the land to replenish our groundwater supply. Instead, it is swept away-by gutters and sewer systems."
  • According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, from 1970 to 1990, more than 30,000 square miles (19 million acres) of once rural land in the U.S. became urban. Metro areas have grown from 9 to 19 percent of U.S. land area since 1960.
  • The GAO has stated that even under normal water conditions 36 states anticipate water shortages in the next 10 years. Swelling cities and suburbs' water needs “…will only serve to exacerbate these shortages.”

"In the thirsty, growing cities...simple conservation simply won't do the trick."

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The New Water Supply Coalition. 1750 H Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington DC 20006. Ph: 202.737.0700 Fax: 202.737.0455