Curious study highlights potential water shortages in US


A new study highlights areas in the country with the greatest potential for water shortages. I have a problem with their methodology because they only include water from local precipitation in the results and exclude water from rivers or water pumped from distant locations. Plus we have bizarre results like Boston being included while Las Vegas is not and Phoenix is not a red dot. (Yet both get most their water from the imperiled Colorado River, so how is that local?)

Areas with the highest danger of shortages

  • Washington DC metro area
  • New York metro area
  • California area, from San Diego to Santa Barbara and inland
  • Agricultural belt: Dakotas
  • Agricultural belt: Nebraska
  • Illinois
  • Lower Mississippi belt: Arkansas area
  • Agricultural belt: North Texas
  • Agricultural regions in Ohio
  • Agricultural regions in Minnesota

The risk metric used here considers only locally renewable supply through rainfall or snow in the county. As a result, it exposes dependence on water from outside the county. This is the case for New York and Washington, which rely on water from the Delaware and Potomac, respectively.