Is the U.S. in a Water Crisis?

    With the unprecedented rain dropped in states like California and Utah this year, some might think that those areas will never need a drop of rain again! If only that were the case. Just receiving a lot of rain doesn’t mean those areas were able to keep it all, or that it’s all being stored in the ground just waiting to be used.

    And when it comes to a “water crisis,” this doesn’t just mean droughts—it can also mean the opposite: flooding. In the U.S., floods can be just as damaging to both people and property, making them an equally pressing issue.

    So while not all of the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of water itself, each state has its own unique challenges when it comes to ensuring that everyone has access to enough clean water, and that our ecosystems get what they need too! 

    For example, in some states, not only is there a lack of fresh drinking water available for citizens but many rivers are also contaminated with pollutants.

    Water conservation is key to addressing these issues—by using more efficient technology, and reducing waste and runoff from agriculture and other industries, we can make sure that everyone has enough clean water for their needs now and into the future.

    5 Things That Contribute to a Water Crisis

    1. Pollution: Contaminants such as sewage, fertilizers, and industrial waste are entering rivers and other water sources. These pollutants can lead to drinking water contamination, and even long-term health issues for those who ingest them.

    2. Drought: With climate change comes periods of drought in some regions, leading to decreased availability of freshwater resources. This can further aggravate shortages already seen in certain areas.

    3. Overuse: People use more than what is naturally replenished by rain or snowmelt leading to a net loss of fresh water over time. This often means that there is limited fresh water available during times of increased demand, like summer when people need to water their lawns or crops, or during fires when firefighting crews need access to water.

    4. Overpopulation in Big Cities: As big cities—especially those in the Desert West, like Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas—grow, so does their water demand. This can lead to significant shortages of freshwater in those areas if not managed properly.

    5. Infrastructure Problems: Inadequate infrastructure to deliver clean drinking water or wastewater treatment systems can lead to contamination of groundwater sources that people rely on for drinking water. Poorly maintained pipelines also create leaks, leading to increased usage and less availability of freshwater.

    The U.S. is certainly experiencing a water crisis, and it’s clear that something needs to be done in order to keep our water resources clean and abundant now and in the future.

    Through better conservation practices, improved regulations on pollution, and more efficient use of our available resources we can make sure everyone has access to clean drinking water and other freshwater sources needed for life.