Thirsty: Global warming to cause U.S. water shortages by 2050?

Water is the most abundant substance on Earth.

The media release is below. The study is here.

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Climate change may increase risk of water shortages in hundreds of US counties by 2050

More than 1 in 3 counties in the United States could face a “high” or “extreme” risk of water shortages due to climate change by the middle of the 21st century, according to a new study in ACS’s Journal of Environmental Science & Technology. The new report concluded that 7 in 10 of the more than 3,100 U.S. counties could face “some” risk of shortages of fresh water for drinking, farming and other uses. It includes maps that identify the counties at risk of shortages.

In the analysis, Sujoy B. Roy, Ph.D., and colleagues explain that population growth is expected to increase the demand for water for municipal use and for electricity generation beyond existing levels. Global climate change threatens to reduce water supplies due to decreased rainfall and other factors compared to levels in the 20th century. Roy’s group developed a “water supply sustainability risk index” that takes into account water withdrawal, projected growth, susceptibility to drought, projected climate change and other factors in individual U.S. counties for the year 2050. It takes into account renewable water supply through precipitation using the most recent downscaled climate change projections and estimates future withdrawals for various human uses.

Roy’s team used the index to conclude that climate change could foster an “extreme” risk of water shortages that may develop in 412 counties in southern and southwestern states and in southern Great Plains states. “This is not intended as a prediction that water shortages will occur, but rather where they are more likely to occur, and where there might be greater pressure on public officials and water users to better characterize, and creatively manage demand and supply,” Roy said.

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7 thoughts on “Thirsty: Global warming to cause U.S. water shortages by 2050?”

  1. Do people know how to synthesize their own water? I don’t have time right now to post the link to her blog, but Ozarque composed an actual science-fiction poem about this. If successfully created, the “crisis” would involve “water rights” as a form of property…and the poem was about the criminalization of simple home water-making techniques….more at Blogspot.

  2. Here’s the problem: the water will evaporate into the atmosphere, and not come back down. Superfluous humans will drink the rest.

  3. Warm weather evaporates more water from the seas and precipitates it on land. Cold weather reduces evaporation and rainfall and snowfall. Extremely cold winters are extremely dry winters. Warm winters are wet ones. Dry summers are hotter because there is no cloud cover or rainfall to cool the atmosphere.

  4. Here in South East Queensland Australia our “experts” were prognisticating dire results during a period of drought – tainfall is predicted to continue to decrease due to “climate change”, our water supply dams will never fill again, the sky will fall (OK the last was fake but it makes as much sense).

    Our Government wasted billions on infrastructure that will not have any use for at least a decade IF we have another prolonged drought.

    By late 2009 the drought broke and dam levels went from ~15% to about 69 % mid 2010.

    Late 2010 into 2011 along came an intense La Nina – our dam levels rose to 200 % with catastrophic resulting flooding and a dam that was designed for flood control failed to control the flood – I suspect because no-one in authority was prepared to release precious water at 100% capacity because they still secretly believed “our dams will never fill again” and once the intense rainfall of January 2011 came along it was too late for the dam to fulfill its flood control purpose – it needed to be reduced to 50 % before the rain events but wasn’t.

    Come 2012 and we are seeing yet more flooding but the flood control dam was prepared in advance this year so no major flooding in Brisbane but there is so much rain that all the billions wasted now seems unbelievable – a small proportion of this money could have built levy banks to protect many of the towns now flooding for the sevond year in a row.

    So you guys are no seeing the same scare campaign.

    Don’t believe them – they haven’t a clue !!

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