Water

Water is rapidly becoming a major problem for much of the US.  While we’ve got ample supplies of water in some places, in others there’s simply not enough – and even in some places where supplies should be adequate, it’s being used so profligately that reservoirs and aquifers are being depleted at a frightening clip.  Water policy is tricky to fit into a national framework, though; it’s an inherently local, state, or regional issue, and so the real national-level piece of the water problem in the US concerns the national regulations and policies that (unfortunately) tend to encourage short-sightedness by local or state governments.

This will become even more of a problem as climate change continues to alter the weather map.  In the past few years, we’ve had to cope with severe droughts over large parts of the US, as well as an unusual number of wildfires, major floods, and damaging storms.  Although it is impossible to attribute any one storm or flood or drought to global warming, the sheer number and severity of such events in recent years makes the causal link unavoidable, especially since the number of record high temperatures recorded in recent years has been more than double the number of record low temperatures recorded.   (This trend has been accelerating.  In 2012, the hottest year on record so far, the continental US saw a total of 362 all-time record high temperatures, but zero all-time record lows!)

 

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