Water Runs Dry: North American Water Crisis

Topics: Water, Water resources, United States Pages: 3 (822 words) Published: March 1, 2010
Water Runs Dry – North American Water Crisis
Collectively the United States is ranked as the greatest consumers of water worldwide; a startling fact for a country that cannot support its own unrivaled demands (Barlow, 2007). The United States is now crucially dependent on nonrenewable groundwater for a staggering 50% of its daily water usage (Barlow, 2007). In addition to such formidable numbers, citizens of the United States use and waste up 80-100 gallons or 454 liters of water per day (Perlman, 2009). The United States simply doesn’t possess enough fresh water or renewable sources of water to keep up with its gross demands. Nearly 40% of U.S waters are deemed unsafe for recreational activities such as fishing and even swimming (Barlow, 2007). The Ogallala Aquifer accounts for 95% of the United State’s groundwater, but it is being pumped so rapidly, that not enough rainwater is provided the chance to replenish the source. As a result 12 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year is extracted a year which amounts to 325 bcm of total depletion; equal to the yearly flow of eighteen Colorado Rivers (BBC, 2000). At the current rates, thirty-six states stand to confront similar water crisis compared to California within the next five years (Barlow, 2007). As, the United States water crisis continues to spiral violently downhill, its neighbor, Canada has already quickly followed this American trend. Dramatically changing climates has had an indelible impact on North America’s water crisis; being the root to many distressing issues. The most physically visible of these issues is the rapid melting of glaciers in the North that have been wearing thin due to increasing temperatures. The result of these melting glaciers means rivers in Canada such as the Alberta Bow’s in 50 years will be left with absolutely no flowing water aside from occasional flash floods that won’t be able to permanently restore the river (Barlow, 2007). Melting glaciers overseas will also become a very...

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Perlman, H (2009)
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