FAIR has released a new report that tackles a subject that does not get a lot of attention but is one of the most serious issues we face in the United States: chronic water shortages. Even with parts of the country enduring some of the worst drought conditions in our history, the conventional wisdom seems to be that a few good rain showers will make everything better. In fact, the real problem is that Americans are using and polluting water faster than it can be replenished. Despite the fact that major gains have been made in reducing individual consumption over the last three decades, rapid population growth due to immigration has keep overall water usage at unsustainable levels. Exacerbating this problem is our nation’s crumbling water infrastructure, which is in dire need of an overhaul in most major urban areas. Most Americans take a clean, abundant supply of water for granted. Unless we address our growing population and its impact on our most important natural resource, we will face catastrophic consequences in the very near future.
- Critical water supplies are being drawn down faster than they are being replenished despite major successes in reducing per capita usage.
- Higher concentrations of pollutants in aquifers make drinking water increasingly unsafe.
- Aging water pipes and infrastructure are allowing harmful chemicals to seep into water supply systems, and creating a heightened danger of sinkholes.
- Using water for irrigation and fossil fuel extraction is increasing strains on the water supply, and raising food and energy prices.
- Desalinization — increasingly being used to supplement fresh water needs — is extremely energy-intensive and expensive.