Group warns of water shortages by 2050

July 22, 2010 at 6:52 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- Global warming will cause a risk of water shortages in two-thirds of U.S. counties by 2050, an environmental group warns.

The Natural Resources Defense Council says more than a thousand counties in 14 states will probably see limitations on water availability and use as demand exceeds supply in mid-century, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The high-risk areas include parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, the NRDC says.

Decreases in precipitation based on 16 leading climate models and increases in water demand based on current growth trends led to the risk projections, the group says.

"This analysis shows climate change will take a serious toll on water supplies throughout the country in the coming decades," Dan Lashof, director of NRDC's Climate Center, said.

Most of the counties at extreme risk for water shortages are in the Great Plains and Southwest United States, but none of the 48 states analyzed are unaffected, the group says.

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