The Looming Water Crisis

July 21 2010, 11:54 AM

About one-third of the counties across the continental United States (that's more than 1,100 counties) could be grappling with water shortages around the 2050s as a result of global warming. And more than 400 of the counties face extreme risk, including some in Colorado, according to analysis by consulting firm Tetra Tech for the Natural Resources Defense Council (via USA Today). The rising risk is due to anticipated decreases in precipitation coupled with marked increases in water demand as populations rise. "This analysis shows climate change will take a serious toll on water supplies throughout the country in the coming decades," says Dan Lashof, director of NRDC's Climate Center, adding that the only real solution is "meaningful legislation" by Congress to reduce global warming. While northern Colorado's Larimer County faces little risk of diminishing supplies---that region might see more precipitation, according to the report (via the Loveland Connection)---the picture in southern Colorado could be dramatically different. In particular, Pueblo County, the Lower Arkansas Valley, and the Eastern Plains are expected to be hard-hit if temperatures increase and water supply dwindles, reports The Pueblo Chieftain. In all, 55 percent of Colorado counties are deemed "at risk" for water shortages in years to come, notes a summary of the report.