Sunday, August 19, 2007

Where Will Major Water Shortages Hit the US First?

As our population and consumption rates continue to grow, we are face shortage of a number of natural resources within the next decade or two. Oil is one of the most talked about, as I mentioned elsewhere, but one that may cause major problems even sooner is water. Oil can be economically shipped from the other side of the world, and there are alternatives to oil for many of its present uses. These things are not true for water.

The area of America that will face severe water shortages first is in the south west. A recent report described the situation as follows:

The news coming from the Southern Nevada Water Authority Thursday about the valley's future water supply is worrisome. Unless we act quickly, there will be no water for hundreds of thousands of Las Vegas Valley residents in just three years…SNWA data shows drought conditions getting worse, not better

The article goes on to describe costly project needed to bring in water to Las Vegas from elsewhere, as well as stating the need for some more conservation. Nowhere does it mention the obvious fact here – it does not make sense to construct a large city in the middle of the desert where there are very limited water supplies. This is yet another good example demonstrating that normal market forces are not good at making long term plans for dealing with limited resources. More on that in a future append.

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