Story 2015-06-22 C373 Forty US states expect water shortages in the next decade

Forty US states expect water shortages in the next decade

in environment on (#C373)
The past three years have been the driest in California history dating to the 1849 Gold Rush. Low snow-pack, combined with 2014 being the hottest year in history in the state, exacerbated the situation. With all the attention focused on California's water woes, an observer might conclude that the Golden State's drought is the exception. It isn't. Forty states expect to see water shortages in at least some areas in the next decade. In a 2013 survey by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), state water managers from around the country said they expect freshwater shortages to continue into the next decade, even under "average" conditions.

Montana was listed in the GAO report as the state most likely to have a statewide water shortage in the next decade. Many other western states are in a similar predicament. About 36 percent of Texas is experiencing moderate or exceptional drought, but that actually represents an improvement. In 2011, 100 percent of the state was experiencing drought. Texas lawmakers passed a referendum for $2 billion of the state's rainy day fund to be used to leverage $27 billion in bonds to implement a state water conservation plan. In Kansas, drought conditions also are a little better this year. Last year, 93 percent of Kansas was facing severe drought. The East is not immune. Delaware and North Carolina are likely to experience regional water shortages in the next decade. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the western part of North Carolina is already "abnormally dry."
Reply 7 comments

The climate does change (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-06-22 22:15 (#C40T)

Fancy that. I wonder where they will get fresh water from

Re: The climate does change (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2015-06-23 19:02 (#C79A)

To be fair, the climate is changing, yes. But those projections also include increased population using that water too. Its not a static projection.

Re: The climate does change (Score: 1, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-06-24 09:06 (#C923)

Unfortunately there are many, especially those interested in selling fossil fuels, who have insisted that climate change isn't real... perhaps they'll realise that it is when they get thirsty.

two words (Score: 1, Informative)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-06-22 22:46 (#C43A)

Great Lakes.

All the big sun belt development money that appeared (iirc) during Reagan presidency was bound to run up against water limits at some point. Meanwhile, the lack of investment in the "rust belt" states around the Great Lakes has left many areas short on infrastructure--but with plenty of water.

Re: two words (Score: 1)

by on 2015-06-23 18:16 (#C73W)

Yeah, I'm not sure what the end game will be. More investment in the great lakes reigon, or more diversion of water from the great lakes.

Re: two words (Score: 1, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-06-23 19:45 (#C7DA)

The Great Lakes states are not going to give up their water easily. Ever since they have been lumped with the rest of the center of the USA as part of "flyover country" there is no love lost for the east and west coasts.

Re: two words (Score: 1)

by on 2015-06-24 01:59 (#C86N)

New York is one of the Great Lakes states, and a pretty thirsty one at that.

Any of the many states through which a water way to/from the Great Lakes passes (e.g. the Mississippi) has a solid claim to a significant fraction of the water in the Great Lakes, by proxy, which can be enforced by the federal government, if bordering states don't want to cooperate.

No matter how upset they may be, money is still a good motivator, and some major cities offering good money for almost no work, will probably get a deal. Even if most of the Great Lakes states holds out, only one needs to cave to get a deal through, and undermine the others.