Domestic water disputes are likely to become more common as local water shortages multiply around the country. One such example is Atlanta, often labelled as “the city of the future” is certainly living up to that reputation as its water constraints are a clear sign of things to come.
Read our previous post titled “Our water limited future – let the adaptation begin”
There is an alarming global supply-demand imbalance, worsened by pollution and draining of underground aquifers reducing the available fresh water supply. The massive Ogallala aquifer under the Great Plains, for example, is projected to run dry in two to three decades given recent withdrawal rates. Similarly, in the past two decades, groundwater resources in Great Lakes communities like Chicago and Milwaukee have fallen by 1,000 feet.
Our aging water pipes are another challenge. The U.S. has roughly 700,000 miles of these pipes, and most are more than 60 years old. Substantial investment is needed to fix or replace them. Keep in mind that pipes account for about 70 percent of the cost of a water system.
In a recent article by Peter Orszag, vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup Inc. and a former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama administration he compellingly states “There’s no reason to wait passively for the next water battle. Even before hearing from the Supreme Court, let’s look at the Lake Lanier story as a spur to aggressive action on our water problems.” Read his entire column (The opinions expressed are his own.)