WaterWorks News: Water shortages, EPA proposes drinking water rule, RAMSCO buys Jones Water Supply

October 2010 Vol. 65 No. 10

Sujoy Roy, principal engineer and lead report author, Tetra Tech, said: "The goal of the analysis is to identify regions where potential stresses, and the need to do something about them, may be the greatest. We used publicly available data on current water withdrawals for different sectors of the economy, such as irrigation, cooling for power generation, and municipal supply, and estimated future demands using business-as-usual scenarios of growth. We then compared these future withdrawals to a measure of renewable water supply in 2050, based on a set of 16 global climate model projections of temperature and precipitation, to identify regions that may be stressed by water availability. These future stresses are related to changes in precipitation as well as the likelihood of increased demand in some regions."

Water withdrawal will grow by 25 percent in many areas of the U.S. including the arid Arizona/New Mexico area, the populated areas in the South Atlantic region, Florida, the Mississippi River basin, and Washington, D.C. and surrounding regions.

Estimated water withdrawal as a percentage of available precipitation is generally less than 5 percent for the majority of the Eastern United States, and less than 30 percent for the majority of the Western United States. But in some arid regions (such as Texas, the Southwest and California) and agricultural areas, water withdrawal is greater than 100 percent of the available precipitation. In other words, in many places, water is already used in quantities that exceed supply.

A summary of the report and related links are available at www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/watersustainability/.

EPA proposes updating drinking water rule to better protect public health
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to revise a national primary drinking water regulation to achieve greater public health protection against waterborne pathogens in the distribution systems of public water systems. Waterborne pathogens can cause a variety of illnesses with symptoms such as acute abdominal discomfort or in more extreme cases, kidney failure, hepatitis or chronic concerns.