A leaky faucet. A sprinkler pattern that laps over onto the street. Applying more than the just-right amount of water to your landscape.
These are all things that haven’t been high on our list of concerns for most of us. But it’s time for that mindset to change. That’s because water is becoming an increasingly scarce and precious resource worldwide.
A combination of unprecedented droughts and rapidly expanding populations has created massive water shortages in many locales. And it’s a problem that’s spreading. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, moderate to severe water shortages are expected in 80% of states during the next 10 years.
And a recent USA Today article reports that the following 8 U.S. states are running out of water right now (ordered from least to most severe):
- South Carolina
No Region Is Immune
No geographical region of the country is immune from the prospect of facing water shortages. Even locales in which water is currently plentiful may face severe shortages in the not-so-distant future.
According to findings of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, “Short-term (seasonal or shorter) droughts are expected to intensify in most U.S. regions.” Projecting the problem at a county level, the number of counties across the nation that are experiencing severe water shortages is expected to more than triple by the middle of the century.
The growing threat of extreme water shortages isn’t just a problem in the United States; it’s a worldwide problem. As The Atlantic reports, “In the next twenty years, global demand for fresh water will vastly outstrip supply in many parts of the world.” The U.S. Department of State predicts that by 2030, mankind’s global water needs will outstrip supplies by 40%.
It’s a serious problem. It’s a growing problem. And it’s a problem without an easy solution.
What To Do?
The most immediate and most impactful way to address the growing water shortage crisis is in the management of water resources. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Managing the supply and availability of water is one of the most critical natural resource issues facing the United States and the world.”
Each of us, individually, can play a role in preserving this precious but dwindling resource. California’s Department of Water Resources offers some great water-saving tips for homeowners. And recent advances in technology can help. Smart water controllers such as Hydrowise can slash outdoor water consumption by up to 50%.
Though water is still plentiful in many locales, that’s likely to change in many regions during the coming years. Everyone should do what they can do to minimize the impact of this impending crisis. That’s why it really is time to think differently about water.