The West’s Lifeblood
Growth and climate change are compounding the water crisis by increasing demands and jeopardizing supplies, but water quality is generally better out West than back East.
- The American West is facing a water crisis that is being compounded by population growth and climate change.
- In most parts of the West, water is an especially scarce resource. The 11 coterminous Western states average just 18 inches of precipitation per year compared to 37 inches for the United States as a whole.
- Scientists believe climate change will make the Southwest even drier and shrink the snowpack in many locations.
- Although per capita water use has declined over the past few decades, total municipal demand is increasing as cities continue to grow.