Friday, July 23, 2010

Idaho: water-short by 2050?

Über skeptics that share the delusion that global warming is a "hoax" may want to reconsider their iconoclastic dogma. There's potentially bad news about life's indispensable commodity for survival—water.

A new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council forecasts water shortages by 2050 in one-third of all U.S. counties—1,100, to be exact—brought on by climate change droughts and inevitable increased demand by a larger population and expanding industrial needs.

Idaho is listed as one of one of 14 hardest-hit states, with seven counties—Cassia, Oneida, Lincoln, Bingham, Minidoka, Canyon and Power—facing "extreme" impacts from water shortfalls. Twelve other counties in Idaho's southern tier are forecast to endure "high" water shortage risks, while Blaine County and eight others are on the "moderate" impact list. The remaining 16, mostly in mid and northwestern Idaho, face "low" risks.

The complete study is available online at

Simple mathematics makes the study credible. Even if annual precipitation remains stable, larger populations requiring more water-intensive food farms and personal consumption, industry's appetite for water—especially for cooling planned nuclear power plants—and urban landscaping will increase demand beyond supplies in some regions.

Prudence suggests that responsible public managers of water supplies begin now to develop workable strategies for ways to reduce public and industry consumption, increase storage, accelerate treatment and usage of sewage for agricultural and industry use, and, where applicable, modernize water desalinization technology for using sea water.

Waiting until 2050 will be too late.

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