Water Sustainability in the United States: A Dynamic Appraisal of Quality and Quantity

P.F. Ricci (Australia, USA) and M. Moore (Australia)


Water use, quality, supply , demand


We assess the status of present and future water supply, demand, and quality. Our results, for several sectors of the US economy are based on integrated data developed at the water resources region, and state levels from 1985 to 2000. Although we find that water quality is improving and that the overall supply of water is good, water shortages will principally affect some of the western water resource regions. Some other regions, associated with fast-growing metropolitan areas, are also vulnerable to water shortages. Those may occur earlier and in more area of the US than previously expected. Our conclusions take into account changes in the U.S. economy during the mid-eighties as well as the nineties, but do not account for such factors as regional-scale climate changes, shifts in low flow requirements and other legal changes that can be introduced by new environmental or energy legislation and regulations, and other events such as structural economic changes.

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