Water Scarcity a ‘Paramount Issue’ in 2013

by | Jan 10, 2013

The US water shortage is turning out to be even more pressing than the General Accounting Office predicted, according to urinal maker Waterless Co.

In 2003, the GAO issued a report warning that by 2013 at least 36 states could face water shortages. But by 2008 at least 36 states were already dealing with periodic if not chronic water shortages, with California, New Mexico, and Arizona at the top of the list, Waterless says.

The company makes no-water urinal systems and other restroom-related products.

CEO and founder Klaus Reichardt says there has been some good news but predicts that water scarcity and related water concerns will likely become paramount issues in 2013.

Among Reichardt’s water predictions for 2013:

  • Lake Michigan/Huron water systems will be at great risk of all-time low water levels, impacting lifestyles and a number of industries in the region.
  • Water and sewer rates in the US will continue to rise in most areas because of the increased costs of electricity (to transport water to and from locations), chemical treatments, and infrastructure upgrades.
  • Water availability in many parts of the world will fall because of droughts, inefficient use of water, chemical runoff, and/or salt water infiltration in water systems.
  • There will be new requirements for water purification in many areas of the world, but this may also cause water rates to increase.
  • We will see more advocacy groups emerge, urging people to conserve water and use it more efficiently.
  • As a result of these factors, finding ways to use water more efficiently in homes, offices, and especially in agriculture and industry will become the “new normal” in 2013.

Water demand is falling in much of the US, according to Sharlene Leurig, a water-financing expert at Ceres, writing in The Guardian. Leurig says that from the 1970s on, the amount of water used by American households decreased across the country, by amounts varying from tens of thousands of gallons each year in Louisville, Kentucky, to nearly 100,000 gallons a year in Las Vegas.

But this declining demand, Leurig says, has created funding problems for systems that rely on volume sales to repay infrastructure costs.

Earlier this month, the US Army Corps of Engineers said it will begin issuing permits for industrial and municipal uses of Missouri River water, and is considering charging for surplus river water in the future.

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