Water Resources and National Water Needs

Archive Report

Water Shortages in East and West

A drought affecting the Middle Atlantic and New England states, now in its fourth year, has directed attention to problems of water supply and use in all parts of the country. Although the United States is one of the best-watered nations in the world—rainfall averages around 30 inches a year—water distribution is uneven. Rainfall is more than adequate east of the Mississippi, but it tends to be skimpy elsewhere. And some of the driest regions, notably Arizona and southern California, lead the country in population growth.

A natural abundance of water affords no protection against acute shortages. Pollution of rivers, lakes and underground reservoirs may render them useless for drinking, recreation, or industrial processing. Moreover, inhabitants of water-rich areas consume ...

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